In 2016, QFFD and Orbis led similar efforts under a four-year programme that aimed to reduce childhood blindness across India and Bangladesh.
The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has joined efforts with international eyecare NGO, Orbis in a bid to eliminate Trachoma in Ethiopia, the Qatari entity announced on Monday.
The collaboration comes as part of the second phase of the Qatar Creating Vision (QCV) initiative in Ethiopia.
“QCV in Ethiopia aims to support the elimination of Trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, by providing hundreds of thousands of eye tests, screenings, treatments, and surgeries,” QFFD said in a statement.
The first phase of the QCV initiative in Ethiopia was launched in 2022 and is funded by QFFD and implemented by Orbis. The programme has so far managed to conduct nearly 40,000 eye screenings for Trachoma as well as other eye conditions.
The Qatari entity conducted more than 2,000 surgeries and provided 1,120 training opportunities for eye health professionals, community leaders, and teachers.
QFFD noted that Trachoma’s treatment is still possible despite its “highly contagious nature”, stressing the importance of global strategies such as the World Health Organization’s “SAFE”—Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement.
“Despite the ongoing challenge of numerous Trachoma cases, the QFFD-supported project is working to reduce the incident rate through the second phase of Qatar Creating Vision,” the Qatari entity said.
The eye condition is more prevalent among women than men, with the former accounting for 70% of cases, per figures shared by QFFD.
“Between October and March of this year, the programme addressed the gender imbalance by ensuring that 73% of individuals receiving surgery for advanced Trachoma were women,” the statement added.
Previous QCV programmes
In 2016, QFFD and Orbis led similar efforts under a four-year programme that aimed to reduce childhood blindness across India and Bangladesh. The initiative later expanded to support refugees in Cox’s Bazar.
The initial programme provided 6.7 million eye tests and treatments to people in India and Bangladesh, surpassing its initial goal of 5.5 million. The initiative additionally conducted 82,000 training sessions.
Then in 2019, QFFD announced the expansion of the QCV across Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, Qatar Charity had joined QFFD and Orbis last year in a “first-of-its-kind” medical training programme. Other partners included Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport.
The initiative included a week-long professional development programme for women in eye care from vulnerable communities, including: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.