Sustainable Development in Ethiopia
Healing the Children's 2014 Annual Report highlights our International Medical Development Programs.
More and more, medical professionals in the countries we serve are telling us that they want our help in developing sustainable medical resources of their own. Our response is to sharpen our focus on training developing country medical professionals and on establishing and equipping in-country medical institutions. New technologies and new ways of communicating will certainly help us do this. Expanding or building relationships with similar interest U.S based teaching hospitals will greatly advance these programs.
In the end, our attention is fixed, as always, on the hurting child. The paths to healing are multiplying, but the destination is the same.
The Philadehphia Chapter's ENT project in Ethiopia is one example of how we are helping to build stronger, self-sustaining medical resources with our partners in developing countries.
ENT and Audiology in Ethiopia
In 2009, HTC expanded its work in Ethiopia to help that country build its pediatric cardiac medical resources. HTC participated in a multi-NGO group effort to create, equip, and help train Ethiopian medical professionals and establish the first of its kind Pediatric Heart Hospital within Black Lion Hospital (BLH) in the capital city of Addis Ababa. HTC even sourced, funded, shipped and helped construct two catheterization laboratories, necessary to visualize the chambers and arteries of the heart and help treat any stenosis or other abnormalities.
Encouraged by that experience, and when attending the opening ceremonies for the Heart Hospital, the HTC Philadelphia/Delaware chapter met with the Chief of Pediatrics at BLH and an Ethiopian American pediatrician, Dr Ebba Ebba, to tour the pediatric wing of BLH, to assess their needs and see how HTC might further assist.
Desma Ferrell, the chapter’s Executive Director, recalls “I felt a cold sensation in my hand. I looked down and a small, beautiful Ethiopian girl of 3 or 4 had placed her hand in mine. I hugged her and she took me on a wordless, but powerful, tour of the 7th floor Pediatric Ward. After the tour, I never saw her again but I saw what I needed to see.”
The focus of the tour gravitated to children with tracheostomies who were virtually living their lives at BLH. Because their homes were in rural Ethiopia where there is no access to proper medical interventions, choking or any trach malfunction could be fatal and had been to many children. Desma also learned that there is not a single pediatric audiologist in this country of almost 100 million inhabitants.
A project to help create pediatric ENT support within Ethiopia began to take shape. A key volunteer, Dr. Glenn Isaacson, an Otolaryngologist from Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia was soon recruited to the core team. The expanded team returned to Addis Ababa for a meeting to outline key needs and commitments with medical professionals at Black Lion Hospital and Addis Ababa University (AAU) Medical School.
This ENT project is now six years in and has resulted in twice yearly trips to Ethiopia by Dr. Isaacson and his team from Temple University. They provide lectures and clinical classes both within and external to the OR’s of BLH for medical residents from AAU. In addition, they assist in the procurement of needed supplies, instruments and diagnostic equipment to help train newly educated Ethiopian ENT MDs who are then stationed throughout their country where needed.
Encouraged again by the success in establishing this ENT program, HTC Philadelphia/Delaware chapter has partnered with another such program in Ethiopia to focus on pediatric hand surgery. Dr Scott Kozin, CEO of Shriner’s hospital in Philadelphia and a prominent hand surgeon, has developed a team to help build this medical resource within Ethiopia. We hope to report on the results from this exciting new program soon.
Read More in the 2014 Annual Report
This is just one of the many stories of sustainable international development featured in our 2014 Annual Report, where you’ll find stories of hope and healing from all of our chapters as well as updates and information about our organization, our programs, and the impacts and progress we have made.
Please take some time to look over our 2014 Annual Report and share it with your friends and colleagues.