Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa and the third largest in number of inhabitants. It has a diverse religious and ethnic composition. Approximately 42 % inhabitants subscribe to Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Church), 48 % to Sunni Islam, 6 % to other Christian churches and 4 % to traditional African religions (animism). The 1994 constitution established 9 regional states and 2 chartered cities. The states are further divided into districts (woreda) and communities (kebele). The economy based mostly on agricultural, which employs about 85 % of the populations and constitutes 42.1 % of GDP. Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is very dependent on foreign development and humanitarian help. Approximately 78 % of Ethiopians live on the equivalent of less than $2 per day.
1.2 million sightless people live in Ethiopia, and approximately every sixth Ethiopian suffers from eye disease. Blindness can be prevented through simple means in 87 % of these cases.
Measured by the Human Poverty Index, Ethiopia is the fourth poorest country, and if poverty is measured by opportunities for individual development (Human Development Index), the country regularly ranks among the bottom 10. Ethiopia´s development indicators are far below the average of the already very poor area Sub-Saharan Africa.
Poverty together with limited access to medical care, drinking water, education and hygienic information leas to the country having a higher prevalence of people with various physical or mental disabilities. These people are usually among the poorest, and sometimes also live in the lowest social stratum.
The most common vision diseases in Ethiopia are cataracts and trachoma. Nine million Ethiopian children are infected with trachoma. Trachoma can be prevented relatively simply by improving hygienic and administering prophylactic drugs. In more advanced stages of the disease regular use of antibiotics or surgeriy are necessary.
We assist local partner organizations participating in prevention and healing of vision impairment, prevention and correction of other disabilities, manufacturing and distribution of physiotherapy equipment, systematic work with persons with disabilities and the communities. Projects are focused on prevention as well as elimination of consequences. The Ethiopia programme aims to:
- double the number of eye doctors,
- increase the number of medical staff,
- open specialized educational facilities outside the capital Addis Ababa,
- establish new eye clinics in rural areas.
We strongly emphasize extending access to medical care to Ethiopia´s the rural areas. For example, 70 % of the 80 eye doctors operating in Ethiopia work in Addis Abeba.
- Braille books for the central library for blind persons
- Rehabilitation and integration of deaf children
- University Eye Clinic with mobile eye care
- Eye Clinic Quiha
- Eye Clinics Butajira and Batu (Zewaye)
Area: 1 133 380 km²*