The Eyes of Hope Project provides Eye Care services, including cataract and trachoma surgeries to the poorest of poor. The project was started by Dr. Asrat Gebre, a local Ethiopian cataract surgeon in response to the significant need in the area. Studies have found that 7.9% of the people over 40 in the region are blind due to avoidable causes. Furthermore, approximately 30% of children are infected with trachoma
HOPEthiopia is a non-profit organization bringing hope and restoration to the rural poor in Harbu Chulule, Ethiopia. Canadian operations are managed by volunteers, while local operations are led by local staff. HOPEthiopia has three main project areas: sustainable agriculture, reforestation and community development. The Eyes of Hope Ophthalmic Services Project is a four part community development project involving:
1. An eye health campaign implemented with support from volunteer community case detectors (selected from rural villages and trained on primary eye care). Specifically, these individuals provide health education on common eye diseases, conduct community mobilization when there is a cataract/trachoma surgery programme, participate in mass antibiotic distribution (for trachoma) and increase awareness of eye care service availability;
2. Community screening and treatment by the local ophthalmic team who make regular trips to the surrounding rural communities to educate, screen and treat patients. Individuals in need of surgery will be referred to Harbu Chulule Health Centre;
3. Public health nurse training on how to perform bilamellar tarsal rotation surgery for trachoma (research has shown nurses can successfully perform the operation with good outcomes). Once trained these individuals will provide trachoma surgery through primary eye care centres, distribute Zithromax (treatment for trachoma) and perform general screenings/eye health checks; and
4. Surgery and refractive error correction services by the ophthalmic team (led by Dr. Asrat Gebre) at Harbu Chulule Health Centre.
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