Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in Ethiopia, where more than 1.6 million people are legally blind, and a further 3.6 million suffer from vision impairment. With only 200 ophthalmologists serving a population of 120 million, there is a critical shortage of eye care professionals. Most are based in Addis Ababa, meaning Ethiopians in rural areas face daunting challenges accessing eye care.
To reduce the huge backlog of people who are legally blind with secondary to dense cataracts, and to provide primary eyecare in regions of Ethiopia where there is no access to ophthalmologists.
- Scoping: Determining campaign sites in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the University of Gondar Tertiary Eyecare Center.
- Screening: Conducting screening and vision checks.
- Surgeries: Administering surgical campaigns
- Follow-up care: Administering follow-up exams and vision checks at 1, 7 & 30 days.
Professor Hartstein has volunteered his opthamology services in Ethiopia since 2014, setting up mobile field clinics in which he has personally examined and treated 7,000 people. He has created a doctor-training program for Ethiopian ophthalmologists, and has brought 18 ophthalmologists to Israel for advanced training in surgical procedures. He has already managed 3 highly successful cataract campaigns in Ethiopia, restoring eyesight to thousands of people. He has built strong relationships with both local municipalities and NGOs (eyeglasses are provided for free through Restoring Vision).
Working with local staff from the University of Gondar Tertiary Eye Center, Professor Hartstein and the team at Operation Ethiopia carry out hundreds of surgeries during each 4-day campaign, often with multiple surgeries being performed simultaneously. For as little as US$65 per patient, eyesight is restored.