If a someone's eye condition is not identified early enough, it can lead to irreversible visual impairment or even blindness – which in turn can create a cycle of social exclusion, emotional trauma and economic hardship.
In Ethiopia, specialist skills and knowledge of eye health is in demand and Orbis is there to provide those skills. We work with governments, schools, communities and eye health professionals to screen and treat those who need us, in order to create brighter futures.
Stories of the people
you helped in 2020
A father's story
Shemsedin is a farmer from southern Ethiopia. He watched his grandparents lose their sight due to trachoma and, at that time, nothing could be done to help them. His generation, and that of his 11-month-old daughter, have been spared the same fate through the educational efforts of Orbis, and the medicine and treatment they provide within his village.
In December 2020, Shemsedin and his daughter, Hamdia, both received the antibiotic to prevent trachoma infection during a house-to-house mass drug administration programme by Orbis. They were just two of almost a million people who received the drug in the area.
2020 brought new health challenges to this community in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to the hygiene education and initiatives put in place by Orbis, Shemsedin feels more prepared for tackling trachoma and Covid-19.
"In the past, our parents struggled with their vision because of trachoma. Most of us have some family members who lost their eyesight."
We’re only able to continue reaching people like Shemsedin and his daughter, particularly amid the pandemic, thanks to the incredible support we receive.
School teacher and sight saver
Attending school is not only vital to gain an education, but can also be vital in preventing eye disease, like trachoma.
To tackle the spread of chronic eye diseases, Orbis trains teachers, like Banchi, to recognise these diseases in their students.
Banchi is a biology teacher in a secondary school in southern Ethiopia and she loves going to work.
Banchi was thrilled to receive Orbis's basic eye care training which allows her to identify issues her students have with their eyes. She has referred numerous students with trachoma to the local health centre for treatment. Ultimately saving their sight!
I am happiest when I can help someone
Like other Orbis-trained teachers across Ethiopia, Banchi has also set up school eye care clubs where students learn the importance of hygiene to keep their eyes healthy. This education is vital to ensure this horrific disease is eliminated across Ethiopia.
Educating parents, helping children
Attibashir and her family live in Ethiopia. She supports them by selling coffee since her husband lost his job because of the pandemic.
Despite her struggles, this mum is grateful that her kids will never suffer from trachoma — the leading cause of infectious blindness in her country.
In December 2020, Orbis’s sight-saving Mass Drug Administration Programme, allowed mums like Attibashir to secure their children’s healthy vision and brighter futures.
This programme taught Attibashir how to prevent the spread of trachoma. She learned that face and hand washing are critical, and she never misses her annual dose of antibiotics, which Orbis-trained eye health workers distribute.
Attibashir keeps her kids’ vision protected, too, so they can stay in school!
Orbis will continue to educate parents on the importance of basic eye care so that future generations are not faced with the same threat of trachoma.