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Burkina Faso

Light for the World offers scholarships to medical students for their specialisation in eye care. Credit: Ulrich Eigner

The eye doctors of tomorrow

In Burkina Faso, the eye health sector is still developing and one of the main challenges is the low number of eye care specialists. For a population of almost 17.4 million inhabitants, the country has just 27 ophthalmologists. Light for the World offers scholarships to medical students for their specialisation in eye care at the renowned IOTA (Institut d’Ophthalmologie Tropicale d’Afrique) in Mali. Three young ophthalmologists graduated in 2016 and started working in Burkina Faso, with a further two currently in training. 

We also support a training course in ophthalmology at the University of Ouagadougou with equipment and materials. This is the first residency training in Burkina Faso on national level, greatly reducing the cost and barriers to study ophthalmology. The Ministry of Health understands importance of strengthening human resources in eye health on the national level. Our goal is to give medical students from Burkina Faso the opportunity to study in their home country, and to increase the number of ophthalmologists and thus increase the number of eye care specialists, especially in rural areas.

Ophthalmologists in Burkina Faso: 22 in 2005, 31 plus 14 in training in 2016

In addition to building human resources, we also continue to support eye clinics in their daily work. Our partners treated 62,889 people in 2016 and carried out 5,361 cataract operations.

Cataract Surgical Rate per million inhabitants per year: 40 (estimated) in 2005, 322 in 2015 

Burkina Faso
Map: Burkina Faso
  • Area: 274,000 km2
  • Population: 19.5 million
  • Life expectancy: 55.5 years
  • Ophthalmologists: 26
  • Ophthalmologists supported by us: 17
Elie Bagbila

Country Representative for Burkina Faso: Elie Bagbila

+226 25 36 28 59
e.bagbila [at]

Where we work