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Partnership with Eye Bank of Ethiopia Wins Prestigious P3 Impact Award

Partnership with Eye Bank of Ethiopia Wins Prestigious P3 Impact Award

The Eye Bank of Ethiopia Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership has been named the winner of the 2020 P3 Impact Award at the Concordia Annual Summit during high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly. Created by Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, the Impact Award recognizes exemplary public-private partnerships (P3s) that provide solutions to pressing issues in areas such as economic growth and development, sustainability, and global health.

Under the leadership of the Eye Bank of Ethiopia (EBE), the Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership also includes the Himalayan Cataract Project, the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, and SightLife – all of whom share a commitment to empowering hope and healing for people who suffer needlessly in the dark.

“We are humbled and grateful to be recognized for our work to strengthen the health and livelihoods of countless men, women and children across Ethiopia,” said Lemlem Ayele, EBE Director. “The power of this partnership lies at the convergence of best practices and local expertise, which are key to meeting national demand and transforming lives through the gift of sight at scale.”  

The first and only operational eye bank in Sub-Saharan Africa, EBE was established in 2003 with the support of Orbis International and in response to the estimated 300,000 individuals who are corneal blind in the country and surrounding regions. In 2011, SightLife joined the effort to help EBE strengthen its capacity, reach financial sustainability and achieve international quality certification in accordance with Eye Bank Association of America quality standards.

EBE also led the development of the first national cornea tissue donation policy, which has spurred widespread community acceptance of cornea donation. Since then, and the start of the Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership in 2012, EBE has met 100% of the demand for requested corneal tissue in the country, enabling 2,400 transplants.

Increasing the supply of quality corneas is only one piece of the puzzle. Surgeons must have the skills and tools necessary to perform sight-restoring corneal transplants. To bridge this gap in Ethiopia, the Himalayan Cataract Project provides clinical training for local corneal surgeons and allied ophthalmic personnel, corneal care equipment, instruments, and consumables to surgeons nationally.

With the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, EBE has helped drive key policy changes that support its long-term community health impact – from integrating corneal health care within the National Health Policy to professionalizing eye banking. In addition, EBE is poised to receive multi-year funding from the government, helping ensure its sustainability.

EBE is a unique model for eye bank development and excellence throughout Sub-Saharan Africa – serving as a national leader and catalyst for change across the Ethiopian health system. In addition, it continuously demonstrates the role of an effective eye banking supply chain to help expand access to comprehensive corneal care and sight-restoring corneal transplants to improve eye health outcomes for the many men, women, and children who navigate corneal injury and disease in the region.

Watch EBE Medical Director, Dr. Menen Ayalew, and SightLife VP of Asia and Ethiopia present the EBE Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership to the P3 Impact Award judges.

SightLife extends gratitude and appreciation to our fellow P3 Award Nominees, whose remarkable partnership-driven work to help create a brighter, better world is deeply inspiring.

To support SightLife’s work in Ethiopia and accelerate our global mission to eliminate corneal blindness, please contact us today. Every dollar helps.