Mr. Dibaba Honiso - An Ethiopian Success Story

Forty years ago, Dibaba Honiso, now 70, fell off a horse and lost vision in his right eye. He continued his livelihood as a farmer using his left eye, earning no more than 2500 ETB (about 225 USD) annually.

Three years ago, he began to have difficulty seeing at a distance, and gradually became unable to see clearly, even in bright light. A year ago, his vision in the left eye failed completely. Being a widower with a daughter living 100km away, he had no one to care for him at his home. He hoped to die peacefully, no longer wanting to live life as a blind man and with no intention of being cared for by others.

Dibaba's daughter, knowing her father needed help, sent her husband Girma Tedesse, to bring her father to live with them. Living in his daughter's house with many children and meager resources, made Dibaba uncomfortable. He complained about being blind and worried about being a burden to the others. His family knew that some eye diseases could be treated, but they first had to save enough money to transport Dibaba to a doctor.

In January 2009, Girma took Dibaba to a hospital in Asella, a town 40km away. After spending 70 ETB (about 6 USD) for travel and a day's expenses in town, they were told Dibaba had a cataract but that treatment was not available in that hospital. Dibaba's hope was shattered.

In March 2009, a fellow farmer came to Dibaba's daughter's house and told them that he had mora (the localOromifa word for cataract) in both eyes and had gotten treated at a Secondary Eye Care Centre that was supported by Noor Dubai. The fellow farmer was blind but his vision was restored. The fellow farmer's story gave hope to Dibaba who decided to try again through the same Secondary Eye Centre to see if he could get treatment.

On April 13, 2009, Dibaba and his son-in-law journeyed the 70km to the Secondary Eye Centre and were welcomed by Dr. Worku, an ophthalmic surgeon. Dr. Worku diagnosed Diababa with pthitic globe (the absence of an eyeball) with no perception of light in his right eye due to the trauma he had suffered, and an age-related mature cataract with only the perception of light in his left eye. Dr. Worku reassured Dibaba that even though there was no hope for the right eye, he could restore vision in Dibaba's left eye.