Gender Gap in Eye Health being closed through QFFD and Orbis project in Ethiopia

Thanks to the support of the Qatar Fund for Development, international eye care charity Orbis is working on a project with partners in Ethiopia, to tackle the blinding eye infection, Trachoma.

The painful eye condition affects more women than men, with women accounting for 70% of cases. In the past six months, 73% of those receiving surgery for the advanced stage of Trachoma through the programme were women, helping to address the gender imbalance.

The project falls under the Qatar Creating Vision initiative and was launched in April 2022. Over the course of the year, almost 30,000 eye screenings have been undertaken to identify Trachoma and other conditions. As a result of the screenings, almost 2000 surgeries have taken place, alongside 1120 training opportunities for eye health professionals and community leaders/teachers, to provide comprehensive eye care services.

Globally almost 2 million people are blind or living with vison loss due to Trachoma, which is highly infectious. 125 million people are at risk, and 42 countries are affected. Yet nearly half of the people at risk in the world are in Ethiopia. Trachoma is preventable and treatable through the World Health organisation’s SAFE strategy:

  • Surgery,
  • Antibiotics,
  • Facial Cleanliness,
  • Environmental improvements.

In rural Ethiopia, the burden of the disease remains high, as medical support can be hard to reach and through repeated infection in adults, Trachoma Trichiasis can develop, which causes excruciating pain.

HE Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari

Director General of Qatar Fund for Development

Through our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Orbis and our com­mit­ment to the Qatar Cre­at­ing Vision ini­tia­tive, Qatar Fund for Devel­op­ment is com­mit­ted to illu­mi­nate Tra­choma. Our joint efforts are sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact­ing Tra­choma as a glob­al health chal­lenge, focus­ing on com­pre­hen­sive solu­tions, and pro­vid­ing essen­tial eye care ser­vices to those in need. We remain ded­i­cat­ed to improv­ing access to qual­i­ty health­care, empow­er­ing com­mu­ni­ties, and trans­form­ing lives through our ongo­ing part­ner­ship. Togeth­er, we are deter­mined to elim­i­nate Tra­choma by 2030, as aligned with the World Health Organization’s goals.” 

Between 2016 and 2020 in India and Bangladesh, thanks to the generosity of the Qatar Fund for Development, Orbis and their strategic partners provided more than 6 million eye tests and treatments, mainly to children, through Qatar Creating Vision. The project in Ethiopia is the first activity of Phase Two of the initiative.

Rebecca Cronin

CEO of Orbis UK

Tra­choma is an incred­i­bly painful eye con­di­tion that turns a person’s eye lash­es inwards, caus­ing pain with each and every blink. Thanks to the gen­er­ous sup­port of part­ners such as QFFD, we are able to reach peo­ple who need eye tests, surgery or antibi­otics, whether they live in a rur­al loca­tion or in the city. Sight loss can impact a person’s edu­ca­tion and liveli­hood but work­ing togeth­er, we can pro­vide eye care ser­vices that are acces­si­ble so that peo­ple get the sup­port they real­ly need.”

Orbis has been transforming lives through the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for four decades. With a close network of partners, they mentor and train local eye care teams – from community workers to doctors and nurses – so that they can save and restore vision in their communities.

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