Ethiopia: Skilled Diaspora Medics Arrive to Provide Medical Training

International Office of Migration (IOM)
Photo from Tadias file: A Doctor’s Memoir:
Ethiopia’s Troubled Health Care System

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A group 105 doctors and nurses, many of them members of the Ethiopian diaspora in North America, are this week travelling to Ethiopia to provide vital medical care in four hospitals in the capital, Addis Ababa. They will also share their knowledge with local health care professionals.

A group of 38 health care professionals, members of Operation Heart Beat, composed of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists and including members of the Friends of Ethiopia group, have already arrived in the country with state of the art medical equipment.

A second group of 67 medics, members of the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association (ENAHPA), will be travelling to Ethiopia later this week.

“These doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are participating in IOM’s Migration for Development in Ethiopia or MIDEth programme, a capacity building initiative aimed at strengthening the government’s institutional capacities to address some of this country’s acute human resources constraints,” explains Charles Kwenin, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Addis Ababa.

The medics will deliver specialized health services, including cardiac surgery, pacemaker implants, oral and maxillofacial and reconstructive surgery, neurosurgery, ENT surgery and tele-opthamology.

The mission will not only reach hundreds of Ethiopians with state-of-the-art medical services, but will also assist the country’s health sector professionals with hands-on training that will improve the standard of health care in major Ethiopian hospitals.

IOM’s MidEth programme also extends beyond the health sector. Later this month two professors will travel to Ethiopia to teach at Addis Ababa University. One, a business professor, will remain in the country for three months. The other, an information technology specialist, will lead a one-month seminar for PhD students.

IT specialist Dr. Nega Gebreyesus, a senior manager at a US Government agency, says that he always wanted to take part in a knowledge transfer scheme between the Ethiopian diaspora and his country of origin. “The flexible and short-term nature of this programme works well with my work and family responsibilities. These short-term trips can be complemented by remote technology-based engagements,” he says.

IOM is working with the Government of Ethiopia (the Expatriates Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Capacity Building and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development), with financial support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to provide travel and other assistance to the experts, who are all based in the USA and Canada.

Ethiopian Airlines is also supporting the initiative, providing discounted airfares and bigger baggage allowances to transport some of the medical equipment.

Source: IOM

16 Responses to “Ethiopia: Skilled Diaspora Medics Arrive to Provide Medical Training”

  1. 1 teferi Oct 1st, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Thank you for posting such news that could contribute to the capacity building endeavor of our nation. If Ethiopia is to survive as a nation in this globalized world, we should compete not only in attracting business & investment but also knowledge which could sustain it. After all,we should be masters of our political and economic agenda.The educated and business minded diaspora with the right type of network in the countries they reside could make a lot of contribution to the work in progress at the home front.

    Thank you ENAHPA for your pioneering work of transferring knowledge and technology to your country of origin.

    With best regards!

  2. 2 bulcha Oct 1st, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Ethiopia has 100s of doctors and health care professionals. I don’t think we need more professionals, whether he or she is from west or east.

    What Ethiopian hospitals and health facilities needs is material. If anyone can help with that, it will be wonderful. Otherwise, it is just a waste of time. We first need to know what people need. Ethiopians have no hypertension or other blood pressure like the Americans. we are suffering from elementary problems like skin infection, malaria, influenza, diabetic, abdominal discomfort, Meningitis, etc.

    Gosh, are these people talking about heart surgery while we are dying of cough and flue?

    by Bulcha

  3. 3 Frezer Oct 1st, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Peace to all

    It is a good to see that Ethiopians living abroad are trying to do some good to their people. it is indeed a great help for most of the people who have low fixed income that barley covers their daily subsistence, let alone to afford expensive medical treatment, if one exists.

    I would like to tell you that you are doing great and be sure Ethiopia will not forget your effort in saving lives and building a generation that is going to take over this country. I hope I could also contribute my share in the effort when I return home after finishing what I’m doing here in 3 months time.

    Let me raise one issue. It is an undeniable fact that the diaspora is doing a nice job in these kind of visits back home. Have you ever asked yourself: Is this the best the diaspora can do? What about returning home once and for all? If those professionals (teachers, doctors, engineers, economists, agriculturalists, IT professionals, accountants, ausinessmen and women,…etc) can afford to live in this difficult situation because they can have other means to support themselves, will it be that difficult for the diaspora to go back and settle permanently and contributing more? After all, when is the ‘right time’ if not now when our people need us most?

    I wish to see the day when all Ethiopia’s children gather at home to give what our country needs most. Those who have the knowledge and expertise serving in in their particular filed, those who have the money investing it in areas where the country needs those investments most.

    Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”

  4. 4 visior Oct 1st, 2008 at 7:59 am

    wey des silu

  5. 5 berhaw Oct 1st, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Dear Bulcha,

    Why should we trust your comment, while thousands of people in Ethiopia are suffering from diabetics, hypertension etc. It is true that there is lack of laboratory equipments , however we should encourage these guys who are discharging their responsibility very well.

    ‘Belt lij yetesetewn yezo yaleqsal’ bilo yele yagerachean sew.

    ke kebere selamta gar

  6. 6 Begudu Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:56 am

    “I don’t think we need more professionals” ?

    Even America needs more professionals. In a weird way I seem to understand Bulcha’s point though. It is true our problem is also what is mentioned by Bulcha, but having those great volunteers is just a plus and we need to appreciated their effort.

    God speed and we are proud of you and Bulcha for sharing his opinion.


  7. 7 DJ Oct 1st, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Hurray, Eseyew Blenal!

    It is this sort of thing that should be encouraged. Ethiopia is not poor in its skilled human resources. It is just, all have moved on to greener pastures else where. This type of a short-stay contribution from the diaspora is much desired to further the human capacity at home. We need engineers, IT professionals, economists, project managers, social workers etc.. making the same trip and sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with fellow Ethiopians at home. You are not only teaching but you will also be learning from locals and come close to the issues of the day so that your next trip will bring in solutions to those problems you have experienced first hand by being there!!

    Please keep it up!!!

  8. 8 Baheilu Oct 3rd, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Unless we, Ethiopians, and the current government answer why medical and other professionals flee the country (in droves) we will never solve any of the country’s problems. Also, it sounds good, for the time being, for Ethiopian medical professionals to go back and help their fellow country men and women. But, this kind of short term visits will not make any major difference unless the political and economical situation of Ethiopia changes. Otherwise, it will be a cycle, which means current medical and other Ethiopian professionals will flee the country and after 5 or 10 years the same professionals will go back as volunteers.

  9. 9 Woldu Oct 5th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I am a medical doctor and do you know what I think when I met a diaspora (especially medically qualified)? I should go abroad by any means and have a life like them!

  10. 10 SAMUEL YOHANNES Oct 14th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I am a journalist in Ethiopia on diaspora affairs. i am proud of our medical professionals outside. Remember, however the government is brutal, Ethiopia is Ethiopia, our sole home. Whatever the current condition, though uncomfortable, Ethiopians are Ethiopians. therefore, all Ethiopians inside and outside should struggle to alleviate famine and poverty.

    Remember, US is only for US citizens, china is for Chinese, our motherland Ethiopia is only for us.

  11. 11 zewdu kifle Oct 17th, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Dear editor,
    I hope you are fine.Could you please send me the stastics of ethiopian medical doctors who are living in USA ?
    Thank You

  12. 12 teshale biku Nov 14th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I am male 45 years 0f age,Adivanced Specialized Operating theatre nurse. I have for about 23years of work experience in st,paul’s gen. hospital.I am very happy for what i heard about you.! God bless You !Realy this is a great thing. Please when you come back again I want to be with you .

  13. 13 sami Jun 11th, 2009 at 7:00 am


    nice news,

    i’m a medical student and want to specialize in countries with hightech

    i do believe that they can do a great help also by sharing their knowledge to us and of course by giving us opportunities to take some trainings

    also it is time 4 z govt to do something i can site the case of us medical students…we are learning in classes and labs for 330 which were meant for 40..interns are working 36 hours continuously with out any payment for the extra hours

    how can i ever want to work in a place where i work 36 hours constantly without a dime even for coffee???

  14. 14 Shewa Aug 4th, 2009 at 7:58 am

    I am a diabetic patient, do I really benefit from the diaspora’s visit?

  15. 15 yonatan Oct 12th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    To bulcha

    Your comment is really offensive. You should have encouraged them first. anyways, this is just to say
    , dont take them for granted for saving one life is immeasurable.

    God bless you, ethiopian visionaries
    Long live ethiopia, God bless Ethiopia

  16. 16 yonatan Oct 12th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I really appreciate you medics for what you have done

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