The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Ethiopia
Published 09 October 2023
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh, Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), is currently visiting Ethiopia to celebrate the transformative work of the international eye care charity Orbis, and participate in national World Sight Day festivities on 12th October.
Later this week, The Duchess of Edinburgh will visit a rural health clinic and hospital where sight-saving medical screenings and surgeries are carried out daily, with support from Orbis. The charity is committed to eliminating trachoma - the infectious and blinding eye disease in Ethiopia. Her Royal Highness will see the region’s comprehensive and sustainable approach to eye health in action, meeting specialists, case workers, and government representatives who are working together to deliver accessible services. The Duchess will also meet patients whose sight has been restored, and visit a school where children are learning how to protect themselves from trachoma through face washing and good hygiene practices.
In recognition of the progress made to rid the country of trachoma, and the work still to come, The Duchess of Edinburgh will attend a conference where delegates from government, and the health and charitable sectors will have the opportunity to exchange insights and chart the way forward to eliminating the blinding disease for good.
Earlier this week, at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, The Duchess of Edinburgh travelled north to Tigray. There, Her Royal Highness saw the work of UNICEF in the region, in response to the devastating and far-reaching impact of conflict related sexual violence (CRSV), and gender-based violence. The Duchess has championed the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), and survivors of CRSV, for a number of years, and has travelled widely to bear witness to their testimonies.
The Duchess of Edinburgh visited Sabacare IDP Camp, which has a population of over 16,000 Internally Displaced Persons, the majority of whom are women and girls. Her Royal Highness spent time hearing about the ongoing challenges they face and the specialised help they receive from trained UNICEF supported workers before joining them for some skilled sewing activities. The Duchess visited a child friendly space in the camp, where children have a safe place to play, learn and thrive. At Ayder Hospital’s One Stop Centre (OSC) for survivors of gender-based violence Her Royal Highness heard about the range of medical and counselling treatments that have aided hundreds of women in the midst of the humanitarian crisis, before visiting the Women’s Development Centre; a charity that equips vulnerable women, many of whom are survivors of conflict related sexual violence, with skills to help them lead an independent life with secure employment.