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Belachew Paulos

Belachew Paulos

Organisation: Vision Action

Role: Country Director, Ethiopia

Belachew Paulos (BSc, MPH) is 34 years old and was born in a small town called Yirgacheffe, in the Southern part of Ethiopia. He studied Clinical Optometry at Hawassa University of medicine and Health Science College, and got his master’s degree in public health at Addis Continental institute of Public Health in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In his early career he worked as a Senior Optometrist at Zewditu Memorial and Alert referral hospitals in Addis Ababa.

He joined Vision Action, an international NGO dedicated to reducing vision impairment through achieving universal access to affordable eye care and eyeglasses in Africa, in 2016 and now leads the country program in the role of Country Director. He also works as a freelance advisor for the Optometry Association in Ethiopia.

During his career, he has demonstrated agility, adaptability, flexibility and leadership through successful development and oversight of various multiyear projects. He has supported the development and implementation of the national strategy for eye health, collaborating with the Ministry of Health (MOH), key stakeholders and professional associations, and he is an active member of the national committee for the prevention of blindness, through which he has been chairperson of national school eye health and Refractive errors technical working group (TWG) for about 8 years.

As Chair of TWG he coordinated the adaption of the national School Eye Health manual for Teachers in 2021 and successfully piloted the implementation in four regions, in collaboration with the MOH, Ministry of Education (MOE), and relevant stakeholders.

He recently led a collaboration with Save the Children International to jointly design and implement the USAID-funded “Vision4 Inclusion, Leave no Child behind” project, demonstrating how vision screening can be integrated into a school health and nutrition (SHN), working with Save the Children’s Waliku team to develop a digitised data management tool that is compatible with DHIS2.

Belachew is a former President of the Ethiopian National Optometry Association where he sat for one term in 2018/19 and has since supported in an advisory role, supporting them to join as members of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO) and World Council of Optometry (WCO).

He has participated in numerous national and international workshops, such as the Annual General Assembly and Scientific conference of AFCO in Dar Salaam Tanzania in 2017, USAID- Child Blindness program partners meeting in Nepal in 2022, and Vision Action strategic development meetings in the UK and Zambia, amongst others.