11 January 2019
Our work in Ethiopia began in the early 1990s in response to requests from the Deans of the Jimma and Gondar Medical Schools to THET’s founder Professor Sir Eldryd Parry to develop the skills of their young specialist and trainee doctors. Since then, a strong partnership has formed between these medical schools, THET, and other institutions and organisations to improve the lives of non-communicable disease (NCD) patients in Ethiopia.
Working with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the Universities of Jimma and Gondar, we train health centre nurses and health officers in 17 Health centres using materials and guidelines aligned to those of the FMoH, and health extension workers to raise awareness in their communities and to refer patients to the health centres.
These centres now provide quality NCD diagnosis, treatment and care to poor, rural patients, and an effective referral system to the major hospitals. We have registered over 7,700 NCD patients at the health centres where they now receive essential care near their homes from health workers who are appropriately trained, continuously supported and encouraged to develop their skills.
Partnership is key to our work in Ethiopia and we could not continue our work there without the support of volunteers such as Dr Alexander Hicks, who recently returned from a THET trip to Ethiopia to support our newly launched project with the FMOH and Novartis Social Business Fund which is working towards the decentralisation of care in 60 sites across seven regions of Ethiopia. Illnesses such as asthma, COPD, hypertension, diabetes and epilepsy have often been overlooked by both overseas charities and local health care professionals. However, almost half of all mortality in Ethiopia is related to chronic disease.
“Seeing at first hand the impact of ties to the medical communities in Gondar and Jimma was inspiring. These personal relationships meant that a real difference could be made to local communities. There was clear trust and respect felt between charity staff and the local medical teams. Many of those within the Gondar and Jimma had been directly supported and trained with THET support so that there is now a strong foundation of staff from which training and health care can develop. This is vital going forwards as there needs to be a significant cultural change in both the public and health care professionals in order to deliver effective chronic disease management.” – Dr Alexander Hicks
We look forward to keeping you updated as the programme progresses.