Virtual Flying Eye Hospital Project Launches in Ethiopia

We're announcing the launch of a new virtual Flying Eye Hospital program in Ethiopia that will provide tailored training to eye care professionals on treating glaucoma and cataract, leading causes of blindness and visual impairment in the country.

With a population of roughly 120 million, Ethiopia is in desperate need of more qualified eye care professionals. However, only a handful of training opportunities are available for for a small number of ophthalmology residents each year. The lack of eye health specialists creates challenges in providing equitable eye care services in, including effective treatments to reduce visual impairment caused by glaucoma and cataract.

Virtual Training

To increase training opportunities for Ethiopian ophthalmologists, two courses will be offered during the ten-week virtual Flying Eye Hospital program. The first, Advanced Glaucoma, will teach eye doctors and fellows from Orbis partner hospitals and academic institutions around the country about new techniques and technologies for treating glaucoma. Training will be carried out on Orbis’s telemedicine platform, Cybersight, with interactive live lectures delivered biweekly by Orbis's Volunteer Faculty.

Ethiopian eye care professionals receive training from Volunteer Faculty Dr. Donnie Suh.

The second course, Simulation Lectures for Residents, will provide participating ophthalmology residents from five academic institutions with an opportunity to build fundamental skills in surgical treatments for cataract and glaucoma. Participants will complete pre-learning content on Cybersight and join biweekly live lectures from Volunteer Faculty.

Our Work in Ethiopia

We established our presence in Ethiopia nearly 25 years ago with an in-country office in Addis Ababa. Since then, we've transformed the eye care sector, including by establishing the Eye Bank of Ethiopia. This facility was the first of its kind among sub-Saharan African countries, introducing subspeciality services, pediatric eye care units and training programs for mid-level eye care workers. We've also worked with partners to expand programs to prevent childhood blindness. This includes developing a comprehensive rural eye health system focused on delivering services to address trachoma, cataract and refractive error.

Since establishing an office in Ethiopia, Orbis and partners have:

Looking Forward

As we continue our sight-saving work in Ethiopia, we're working closely with partners and institutions to give the best training and care, ensuring long-term success. With projects like our annual mass drug administration of Zithromax to prevent trachoma, and programs like our virtual Flying Eye Hospital, we're confident we can continue to reduce the burden of blindness in Ethiopia.

A big thanks to all of you—our donors—for your generous contributions. They're what keep our mission in flight!

Derek Hodkey


We have made sig­nif­i­cant progress in improv­ing the qual­i­ty of eye care in Ethiopia over the past 20-plus years, but we know there is still much work to be done to fur­ther increase eye health in the coun­try. Our vir­tu­al train­ing projects, enabled by our incred­i­ble vol­un­teers and sup­port­ers, have proven to be instru­men­tal in train­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of eye health pro­fes­sion­als in Ethiopia and beyond.


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