Of the 1.2 million people in Ethiopia who are blind, around 1 million are blind from avoidable causes. With only one ophthalmologist for every 1 million people and little if any eye care outside of the capital Addis Ababa, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD is working hard to prevent this unnecessary loss of sight.
In western Ethiopia, we are involved in a project where 50 % of the population are at risk of Onchorcerciasis or 'River Blindness'. Since 2004, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD has been one of only two international NGOs supporting the Ethiopian government's Onchocerciasis prevention and control programme. In 2011, we supported the distribution to 1,511,674 people. Over 9 million children under the age of nine have trachoma. Over a period of four years a new project in Oromia state will see 300,000 people screened for eye diseases, 3 million people receive antibiotics to combat trachoma and 79,000 people with trachoma treated with a simple and cost-effective ointment. In 2011 we distributed zithromax to 829,157 people to treat blinding trachoma.
Support for children with disabilities
Many children with disabilities in Ethiopia face a limited and difficult life due to a lack of medical and other support. LIGHT FOR THE WORLD supports 6 Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Programmes in Ethiopia and in 2011, our Ethiopian-based CBR expert continued to strenghten the national CVR network to ensure a quality of care for the many children affected by our CBR work including 1,609 children who recieved liberating physiotherapy, 1,231 children who received life-changing prosthesis and 1,038 children supported in home-based care.
Belayinesh - a new future
Born with cerebral palsy in a small town in rural Ethiopia, Belayinesh was unable to walk or even sit until she was eight years old. Fortunately for Belayinesh, she was discovered by Siltanu, a rehabilitation worker from LIGHT FOR THE WORLD who used parallel bars and then crutches to train her to use her legs. After two years of rehabilitation work Belayinesh can now walk unaided to school. For Belayinesh this has brought new-found freedom and independence as she can not only get to school, but can help her mother with the chores and even take part in the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. For her mother, Belayinesh's future has opened up, causing her great happiness and pride: "My daughter now has so many possibilities!"