Dr Esmael Habtamu Ali is a Public Eye Health Academic and Clinical Trialist with a research interest on Trachoma. He is Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Eyu-Ethiopia (a local NGO engaged in eye health research, training and service provision), Adjunct Assistant Professor at Bahirdar University. He graduated from his undergraduate Ophthalmic Officer Course with Great Distinction, from University of Gondar in 20027. In 2010/2011 he has studied on the LSHTM MSc in Public Health for Eye Care, graduating top of his year group, and was awarded the Gordon Johnson Prize for outstanding performance. Between 2013 and 2016 he completed his PHD on the surgical management of trachomatous trichiasis and its impact on quality of life and was awarded the 2017 LSHTM Woodruff Medal for the outstanding doctoral thesis completed that year. He is African Academy of Science Affiliate, and Mandela-Washington Young African Leaders Initiative Fellow.
Dr Habtamu has led several large-scale research projects, including four clinical trials and multiple implementation researches, awarded eight research grants (total of over $2.17 million) and published more than 30 research articles that informed WHO and global practices on the management of the blinding stage of trachoma. He is the member of the Ethiopia NTD Research Advisory Committee, and Ethiopia Trachoma Advisory Group (ETAG). He has participated in the development of various international and national trachoma control manuals and guidelines, including the 2018 WHO Global Scientific Meeting on Trachoma Control. In 2019, he was awarded the LSHTM Director’s Award for “Early Career Researcher making significant contributions in their field of research and demonstrating the potential to progress as a future academic leader”. In 2021, he has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust International Intermediate Fellowship to develop a package of effective and sustainable Primary Eye Care (PEC) interventions for integrated service delivery within Primary Health Care (PHC) in low-income settings, a project he is currently implementing in Ethiopia through the local NGO he has established (Eyu-Ethiopia) in collaboration with LSHTM.