Ethiopia: Medical Projects
There are two medical focused projects in Ethiopia. The Medical Emergency Fund (MEF) provides for transport, care, surgery and medicine for individuals in need, and the Medical Outreach (MOP) funds initiatives supporting Ethiopian doctors and hospitals to strengthen community health care in the country, including funding training of health care workers, clinics to rural areas, health screening programs and other initiatives supporting community health access.
Medical Outreach Projects (MOP)
The Medical Outreach Projects work with the existing healthcare services in Ethiopia to support and improve what they can offer - working in collaboration with Ethiopian doctors to bring healthcare to rural areas and to the poorest people. These projects have developed out of exploring options to help an individual child in our sponsorship projects through MEF and discovering that their need is shared by many. WFA is too small to be effective if we work as an ‘island’ and I believe Ethiopia’s poor and rural population will benefit best through having a strong public healthcare system. Over the years WFA has provided prosthetics clinics to Bonga (a rural town), cardiac clinics (screening of school children and training for health workers in Bonga as well as supporting the Jimma cardiac clinic with provision of ECG’s and other equipment), eye clinics and providing a range of supports for disabled and sick children in Bulbula town. Over 2020-2021 MOP has focused on:
Prosthetics Outreach clinics: The Prosthetics Clinics have been funded by WFA since 2010 and are provided by the Jimma University Hospital prosthetics department, coordinated by Abreham, a nurse heading up the department. The prosthetics department was set up by a European hospital that provided the equipment and training in making the prosthetics. However, the hospital does not have a budget to provide the prosthetics free of charge, or to provide rural clinics. WFA helps to fill that gap providing disabled poor and rural people with free access to help, including above and below knee prosthetic legs, prosthetic shoes, crutches and wheelchairs. Patients include children and adults disabled from birth or through burns, accidents, polio or landmines. This project is not only giving mobility to those with disabilities but also provides ongoing compassionate support through a regular friendly face and ongoing assessment.
This project covers the children’s food while in Addis, medical treatment, medicine, rental of a car and driver, fuel and hotel accommodation, in addition to the new expenses arising with COVID. Sr Abeba endeavours to enrol any children assisted medically into the school she runs in Bulbula so as to provide them with an education, a daily meal and ongoing support following (and during) their medical treatment. Culturally disabilities are often seen as a curse for a wrongdoing of the child or parents, so they are hidden away. Since MOP started assisting Sr Abeba to help some of these children a few years ago, many have been brought to her and ongoing funding is required to help her get these children treated. Sr Abeba has become increasingly adept at knowing which hospitals to take the child to (depending on if it is a prosthetic/orthopaedic issue or a surgical problem like an imperforate bowel, or a medical issue such as epilepsy. We are seeing a high number of children born with spinal and other disorders (imperforate bowel, club foot and spina bifida).