Project information

Eliminating childhood blindness in N-W Ethiopia

The establishment of a children’s Eye Care Centre at Gondar Hospital will provide quality eye care to children in the Amhara region, NW Ethiopia. We will train eye-care teams, develop outreach services and raise awareness of eye conditions and the work of the centre in surrounding rural communities.

July 2011 - March 2015

Charity information


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  • Need


    There are over 6000 blind children in this region. Children require specialised care for their delicate eyes and it is vital to treat their problems early to prevent permanent sight-loss. The lack of specialised training in developing countries means that children can rarely access the eye care they need. As a result they often face a lifetime of unnecessary blindness and are unlikely to go to school or join the workforce, leaving them dependent on their families, facing a lifetime of hardship


    By training new paediatric eye care teams, creating and resourcing a specialised children’s eye care centre, and educating families in both urban and rural areas about the needs of children’s eye care, ORBIS hopes to give children in developing countries the chance to fulfil their potential, and have the bright, happy futures they deserve.

    At all times we will continue working with the Government to ensure that paediatric eye care is incorporated into future national health strategies.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce the prevalence of childhood blindness and visual impairment in North West Ethiopia


    » Establish a fully equipped childhood eye care centre in Gondar University Hospital
    » Provide training for all staff including medical professionals, hospital managers and outreach workers
    » To educate communities about the importance of eye care and the services available at the children’s eye care centre

    Success will be measured both in the number of children screened and treated at the hospital, and the number of eye care professionals who receive training

  • Impact


    Our long-term aim is to eradicate unnecessary blindness in developing countries. By building an efficient and adequately staffed children’s eye care centre, and training both eye care teams and hospital management teams, we are introducing a sustainable model that can be mirrored across the country.

    Furthermore, by building on the countries capacity to help themselves, we hope to convince the government to incorporate eye care into future national health strategies.


    Eye Care professionals that ORBIS train leave to go and work in the private sector (where they can receive higher incomes).

    ORBIS prioritises training professionals who are from the local area, living with families etc who would be unlikely to move. ORBIS offers continual professional development and other incentives for trained eye care teams to stay.


    We will report back to donors bi-annually.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £461,410

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      Amount Heading Description
      £142,554 Training Training of health care teams and Human Resource Development
      £205,196 Hospital Institutional Development and support
      £38,627 Awareness & Collaboration Advocacy, Public Awareness and communications, and Collaboration with Government and NGO activitiess
      £31,028 M & E Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure success of project
      £44,005 Miscellaneous Staff costs and Miscellaneous
  • Background


    Gondar University hospital has a catchment area of approximately 14 million people, with only seven ophthalmologists serving the entire population. The people in the region are one of the poorest in the country and have been exposed to food insecurity for several years. The majority of the population lives in rural areas. The economy of the region remains heavily dependent on agriculture.


    The benefits are threefold:

    Primarily the children whose sight can be restored as a result of visiting the eye care centre

    Second, the local health care teams who receive training, and are therefore better equipped to eradicate avoidable blindness, and train their peers in the future

    Finally, whole communities that will benefit from increased productivity of those who have regained their sight

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    ORBIS began working in Ethiopia in 1994, and set up a permanent country office here in 1999. Since then, we have supported local partners in establishing trachoma and cataract reduction initiatives and as well as working to strengthen local partner eye care centre’s.

    ORBIS has already worked with Gondar University Hospital to upgrade their department of Ophthalmology, and this project will be an extension of this previous partnership, building on its successes and achievements.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    The Programme Managers

    who work tirelessly with the partners hospitals to ensure that needs’ are addressed and targets are met

    The Medical Teams

    who ensure that newly learned skills are maintained, and passed onto peers ensuring the level of care continues

    Local Outreach Workers

    who ensure that communities are educated on the importance of children’s eye care, and are aware of the services available