Above: Ambassador Yamamoto met on May 15 with (Left to Right) Dr. Sarah Brenner, Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, Dr. Asqual Getaneh, Dr. Fuad Temam, Ambassador Yamamoto, Ms. Hiroko Kiiffner, Dr. Ruth Leekassa, and Mr. Calvin Kiiffner..
ADDIS ABABA – The lack of dermatologists and the high prevalence of dermatological illnesses such as leprosy and leishmaniasis in Ethiopia prompted a small group of philanthropists in the United States and doctors working at the African Leprosy/TB Education and Research Training (ALERT) Center to combine their efforts to establish a post-graduate dermatology training program in Addis Ababa. The program they established seeks to double the number of dermatologists in Ethiopia within three years. In addition, dermatologists trained under the program will train general practitioners and mid-level health care workers (nurses and health officers) who provide dermatological care for the large majority of the population including those in rural areas.
Dr. Fuad Temam is the first Ethiopian dermatopathologist to be trained at the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology. Dr. Fuad’s training was funded through the generosity of its founder, Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, and U.S. philanthropists Calvin and Hiroko Kiiffner. Dr. Fuad returned to Ethiopia in 2005 and is now training Ethiopian dermatologists through the AAU-ALERT dermatology program. This program is a three year clinical training in dermatology that began in 2005 with six medical school graduates. Since 2005, ten additional trainees have joined, and each year, 8-10 additional trainees are taken on. The program is delivered jointly by the medical faculty of Addis Ababa University and the ALERT Center. At present, a limited number of training slots are available for general practitioners and mid-level health care workers.
At a ceremony at the Ambassador’s Residence on May 14, U.S. Ambassador Don Yamamoto met Dr. Fuad Temam along with U.S. philanthropists Calvin and Hiroko Kiiffner, and Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman MD, dermatopathologist and founder of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York City. They were accompanied by Asqual Getaneh, MD, MPH, a physician at Columbia University in New York City (A regular contributor to the health section of Tadias Magazine), who brokered the connection between Dr. Ackerman, the Kiiffner’s and ALERT. Dr Ruth Leekasa, ALERT Director, also accompanied the group. Ambassador Yamamoto said during their meeting, that the efforts of this dedicated group of people is a wonderful example of U.S.-Ethiopian collaborative efforts to come up with lasting solutions for improved health care in Ethiopia. He said that programs such as this one, initiated and sustained by local experts, help to increase local capacity and respond to local needs.
Also, on Wednesday May 16th 2007, Ms. Kim Wright, the political and economic officer at the US Embassy held a recognition event for an Ethiopian-American group which facilitated the establishment of the first post-graduate dermatology training program in Ethiopia. The event was attended by a total of 60 individuals, representatives of 10 different embassies, 15 non-governmental civil organizations, ex-patriots in academic positions and locals in the business and health sectors.
Ms. Wright gave the introduction to the group and Dr. Asqual Getaneh who linked the Ethiopian and American group provided a general description of the collaboration. Drs. A. Bernard Ackerman and Fuad Temam explained the need for the training program and provided future plans.
Source: The Lion, The Newsletter of the American Community in Ethiopia