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Project Background

The Fred Hollows Foundation is working in Ethiopia to eliminate trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world today. In Ethiopia alone, there are over 76 million people who are at risk of contracting the disease. 

In 2018, The Fred Hollows Foundation has been implementing the World Health Organisation’s SAFE strategy in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, to ensure the disease is simultaneously eradicated and prevented from reoccurring. This strategy focuses on surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness (behavioral changes) and environmental improvements. 

Between January to September in 2018, 19 lid surgeons were trained, over 45,000 trachoma trichiasis surgeries were performed and 22,714 community health workers, teachers, and health personnel were trained in trachoma elimination. 

Significantly, during this time over 19 million doses of antibiotics were distributed.

Thanks to funding from The Footprints Network, The Fred Hollows Foundation was able to achieve the following outputs in the Oromia region of Ethiopia: 

  • Train 5 lid surgeons to perform trachoma trichiasis surgery;
  • Perform 200 trachoma trichiasis surgeries; and
  • Distribute 3,446 doses of antibiotics to combat trachoma.

Case Study

On Tuesday 3 July 2018, The Fred Hollows Foundation, in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia and the Oromia Regional Health Bureau, celebrated its 100,000th trachoma trichiasis surgery since the start of the program in Ethiopia. 

The 100,000th surgery was performed on an 80-year-old woman, Ke-meru Abdela, in the East Hararghe Zone of Oromia.

The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Acting Country Manager in Ethiopia said:

“When The Fred Hollows Foundation started work in Oromia about four years ago there were 150,000 people desperately waiting for surgery. We have made massive inroads into the problem and will continue our efforts to ensure everyone who needs surgery gets it and that together we eliminate trachoma in Ethiopia.”.

What Next?

The Fred Hollows Foundation has joined with strategic global partners, such as Sightsavers, and with global bodies, including the World Health Organisation, to see trachoma eliminated in the places where we work by the year 2020. 

Significant progress has been made in Ethiopia through the efforts of The Fred Hollows Foundation and its partners. The Foundation’s current Trachoma Elimination Project runs from 2018 until 2020, at which time analysis will occur to determine the status of trachoma in Ethiopia. 

The Fred Hollows Foundation is also starting to address other eye health conditions, such as cataracts, and will continue to work in Ethiopia until avoidable blindness has been eliminated. 

Can I Visit the Project?

Interested donors should contact The Foundation.

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