Sightsavers in Ethiopia

We’re working with the Ethiopian government and partners to deliver vital charity work that protects people from trachoma.

People in Ethiopia are at high risk of catching trachoma, a painful eye disease that can lead to blindness.

It is one of five countries that, together, are home to almost half the world’s cases of active trachoma.

The government has been investing in primary health care since the 1970s, but there is a shortage of essential resources, and health care is scarce in rural areas. The costs of medical help are also a significant burden for many households, leading to financial hardship and causing many people to avoid using health care.

Trachoma is one of five neglected tropical diseases are endemic in Ethiopia, putting millions of people at risk of blindness and disability. Sightsavers’ work in the country focuses on treating and preventing the disease.

In 2012, we tracked cases of trachoma in Ethiopia as part of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project. The data we collected showed that the disease was a public health problem in 90 per cent of districts.

To tackle this, as part of the Accelerate programme, Sightsavers and partners used the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy to stop the spread of trachoma through surgery, antibiotics, face washing and environmental improvements. In 2022, we helped to distribute 8 million treatments for trachoma in the country.

Facts about Ethiopia

  • Population: 113 million
  • Capital: Addis Ababa
  • Official language: Amharic
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 175 (low)
A white and yellow icon representing an eye with cataracts. The pupil and iris are covered with dashed yellow lines.

8.8 million people in Ethiopia are thought to have vision loss

There is only one ophthalmologist for every one million people

A white and yellow icon of a small bottle of medicine, with one round tablet leaning on its side.

75 million people in the country need treatment for trachoma

Sources: IAPB, RAAB, International Journal of Ophthalmology

Epidemiologist Michael Dejene, who is collecting data on trachoma, crouches next to a woman who is sorting produce.

“I’m happy to be contributing to the global effort to eliminate trachoma.”

Epidemiologist Michael Dejene, who is collecting data on trachoma, crouches next to a woman who is sorting produce.
Epidemiologist Michael Dejene (left) has been working with Sightsavers to track trachoma in Ethiopia

How you can help

Our charity work in Ethiopia is helping to protect communities from trachoma, but there’s still more we need to do to reach everyone.

With your support, we want to expand our treatment campaigns to other areas of the country where trachoma is endemic, which can cause permanent blindness if left untreated. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our work in Ethiopia. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Ethiopia, would like details about our programmes or wish to discuss ways you can donate or support us, email [email protected]

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