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Restoring Sight (Ethiopia & Tanzania)

Eye Care Programs Throughout Ethiopia and Tanzania

The Project: Providing access to high-quality eye care services throughout Ethiopia and Tanzania, helping to identify common eye diseases, delivering proper eye care messaging, and ensuring those with eye concerns, particularly women and girls, utilize available services.

The Story: Currently, there are virtually no eye care services available throughout rural and semi-urban areas across Tanzania and Ethiopia, which is where nearly 80% of their populations live. Blindness and vision impairment are among some of the top public health concerns in these areas, with approximately 5 million women, men, and children who are affected. This includes 1 million people blind from avoidable causes such as cataracts. Furthermore, social inequalities in promoting health and limited access to appropriate health care services have resulted in women, the elderly, and rural residents being at greater risk of blindness and/or impaired vision. In partnership with SEVA, YP Foundation has been able to help co-fund sustainable eye care programs throughout Ethiopia and Tanzania, by supporting proper eye care training, the procurement of essential ophthalmic equipment and medical/surgical supplies, ongoing community outreach programs, and the support of both surgical and non-surgical treatment for all patients referred by community volunteers.

Latest Updates: Despite restrictions from the global pandemic, with the co-funded support from the YP Foundation, close to 20,000 patients were examined and/or treated, and approximately 1,300 cataract surgeries were performed from July 2020 – March 2021 across Tanzania and Ethiopia.

In addition to this, essential ophthalmic instruments and equipment were purchased and delivered to the Mara Regional Referral Hospital (Tanzania) and the Felege Hiwot Regional Hospital (Ethiopia).

SEVA also works closely with existing microfinance groups across Eastern Africa to provide eye health education for women in which members are taught simple facts around eye conditions, treatment options, and ways to further spread this knowledge throughout their communities. They are also asked to refer patients to outreach eye clinics in their areas. Unfortunately, all training programs were postponed until March 2021, and only essential activities were carried out during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Training sessions and monitoring visits did however resume in March 2021 in the district of Tarime in the Mara region.

The Future: The YP Foundation plans to continue co-funding this project into 2021-2022, with a focus on continuing the delivery of sustainable eye care programs throughout Tanzania and Ethiopia. Planned key initiatives include ongoing eye care training and outreach activities, the procurement of essential ophthalmic equipment and medical/surgical supplies, and the support of enhancing and strengthening the management systems that help enable ophthalmologists, nurses, and other primary health care workers to properly perform their jobs.


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