More than 12 million people worldwide suffer needlessly in the dark because of corneal blindness, making it one of the world’s leading causes of avoidable blindness, especially in low- and middle-income areas, such as Ethiopia, where approximately 300,000 people are affected by corneal blindness. Eliminating corneal blindness requires patient access to good-quality, affordable eye care across all stages of life, the integration of corneal health services into primary healthcare systems, and access to transplant tissue. The Eye Bank of Ethiopia Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership (EBE) is a public-private partnership between the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, SightLife, and the Himalayan Cataract Project. It aims to serve as a model for development throughout Africa via the establishment of the first eye bank in sub-Saharan Africa, which will utilize global best practices, ensure a steady supply of tissue to the country, and drive cornea health system policy enablers. Since the initiation of the partnership, the EBE has met 100% of the demand for corneal tissue in Ethiopia and has completed 2,400 transplants, with 70% of transplants being successful after five years.
Learn more about what makes the Eye Bank of Ethiopia Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership so innovative in the UVA Darden School of Business’s Ideas to Action article.