An MMDP Project trichiasis surgeon checks on a patient in the village of Anakulle in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The 62-year-old patient, whose right eye was operated on three months earlier, said the surgery ended his pain and made daily activities possible again. (Photo: Mary Houghton)

MMDP in Ethiopia

Ethiopia combines the highest burden of trachoma in the world with an unrivaled government determination to both break transmission and treat trichiasis. With active trachoma infection affecting millions and an estimated 693,000 trichiasis cases nationwide, Ethiopia is supported in its elimination fight by multiple international donors, including USAID, which joined mass drug administration efforts in 2013 and added support for trichiasis surgery through the MMDP Project a year later.

Ethiopia is also committed to eliminating lymphatic filariasis, known to be endemic throughout the country. To help the government complete a strategic plan for addressing hydrocele and lymphedema, the MMDP Project is assessing the number of patients in target areas and gathering information on the additional support needed by local health systems to provide treatment.

With support from the government of Ethiopia and a multitude of external donors, Ethiopia’s plans to reach 2020 elimination goals for trachoma and lymphatic filariasis are within reach.


MMDP Project trichiasis activities in Ethiopia center on the populous Oromia and Tigray regions. Having supported trichiasis surgery for more than 12,800 individuals in these regions in 2016, the project is substantially increasing its targets for 2017 while ensuring that surgical quality and safety remain the top priorities. 

The project is also supporting the Federal Ministry of Health’s newly developed plan for managing morbidity and disability from lymphatic filariasis by assisting with capacity building and patient care initiatives in the Oromia, Tigray and Beneshangul-Gumuz regions.

During a training of trainers certification session in the Oromia region, master trainer Sisay Alameyhu, M.D., left, watches a candidate prep a patient for surgery. (Photo: Scott McPherson)


  • Train trichiasis surgery trainers and surgeons, including skills practice on the HEAD START surgical simulator
  • Train health workers and Health Development Army volunteers on trichiasis case finding and surgery counseling
  • Provide trichiasis surgery at health centers and through mobile teams

Lymphatic Filariasis

  • Conduct burden assessments for lymphedema and hydrocele cases
  • Train hydrocele surgery trainers and surgeons, including skills practice on the  FASTT surgical simulator
  • Provide hydrocele surgery
  • Train health care providers in lymphedema management
  • Teach self-care techniques to lymphedema patients