The Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society and Concordia announced Eye Bank of Ethiopia as the winner of the P3 Impact Award at the 2020 Concordia Summit. The annual P3 Impact Award recognizes exemplary cross-sector collaborations that feature public, private, nonprofit, or non-governmental organizations addressing societal challenges. Eye Bank of Ethiopia’s Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership is the seventh public-private partnership (P3) to win the annual award. Each year, P3s are celebrated for leading the way in providing innovative solutions to pressing issues in areas such as economic growth and development, sustainability, and global health.
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), a public-private partnership between the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, SightLife, and the Himalayan Cataract Project, 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 5 years.
After video presentation and open discussion with award nominees, a final decision was made by P3 Impact leaders: UVA Darden Institute for Business in Society Professor and Academic Director Mary Margaret Frank, Office of Global Partnerships Director for Partnerships Constance Tzioumis, and Concordia’s Senior Director for Partnership Development Hanne Dalmut, and an esteemed panel of judges: Connective Impact Founder & CEO Joanne Sonenshine, Duke Energy Foundation President Katherine Neebe, Medical Care Development President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Christopher Schwabe, and Duke University Professor Dr. Dan Vermeer. Bechtel Corporation Global Head of Sustainability Tam Nguyen, served as a fifth judge and contributed to earlier evaluation processes.
The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships Managing Director, Thomas Debass, gave remarks and announced Eye Bank of Ethiopia as the winner at the digital Concordia Summit during U.N. General Assembly high level week.
Other 2020 award finalists recognized for their excellence in partnership included: Asili, Eastern Congo Initiative’s Social Enterprise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Localizing Development: IAF-Mott Public-Private Partnership in Mexico; State Affordable Medicines Program in Ukraine; and the global initiative, WASH UP!