Health Section

Potential COVID19 Vaccine Shows Promise

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the United States said they were able to move quickly in developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine. (Reuters)

By Reuters

April 2, 2020

Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise in Mouse Study

LONDON — Initial tests in mice of a potential COVID-19 vaccine delivered via a fingertip-sized patch have shown it can induce an immune response against the new coronavirus at levels that might prevent infection, U.S. scientists said on Thursday.

Researchers around the world are working to develop potential treatments or vaccines against the respiratory disease that has killed nearly 47,000 people and infected almost a million in just a few months.

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the United States said they were able to move quickly in developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine after working on other coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 (the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic), teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” said Andrea Gambotto, an associate professor at Pittsburgh.

“We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

When tested in mice, the prototype vaccine – which the researchers have called PittCoVacc – generated what they described as “a surge of antibodies” against the new coronavirus within two weeks.

The Pittsburgh researchers cautioned that because the animals have not been tracked for very long as yet, it is too early to say whether and for how long the immune response against COVID-19 lasts.

But they said that in comparable tests in mice with their MERS experimental vaccine, a sufficient level of antibodies was produced to neutralize the virus for at least a year.

So far, the antibody levels of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated animals seem to be following the same trend, they said in peer-reviewed study in the journal EBioMedicine.

The team said they hope to start testing the vaccine candidate on people in clinical trials in the next few months.

The potential vaccine uses a needle patch design, called a microneedle array, to increase its potential potency.

This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles made out of sugar and the spike protein, Gambotto explained. It is designed to deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest.


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US Approves Malaria Drug for Coronavirus

A pack of hydroxychloroquine sulfate medication. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

FDA authorizes widespread use of unproven drugs to treat coronavirus, saying possible benefit outweighs risk

Millions of doses of the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine will be distributed to hospitals across the country to try to slow the disease in seriously ill patients.

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

There have only been a few, very small anecdotal studies that show a possible benefit of the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, to relieve the acute respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 and clear the virus from infected patients.

And health experts warn the drugs’ well-known side effects could become more commonplace with much wider use. In particular, they say, patients with existing heart problems or taking certain drugs, such as anti-depressants that affect heart rhythm, are at risk of a fatal episode. Experts recommend screening before the drugs are prescribed to prevent drug-related deaths.

“The concern really is if we’re talking millions of patients, then this issue of drug-induced sudden cardiac death is absolutely going to rear its ugly head,’’ said Michael Ackerman, a pediatric cardiologist and professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, who last week co-authored a key paper about the risks in response to the surge in drugs’ use.

Long-term use of the drugs also is associated with a chance of developing a form of vision loss called retinopathy, but the use of the drugs to fight virus in an infected patient is only for a few days.

The FDA’s emergency authorization does not cover longer-term use of the drugs to prevent the coronavirus infection, a practice that has become more commonplace as doctors have prescribed the drugs “off label” in response to the pandemic.

Read more »


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The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who warned of pandemic in 2006, says we can beat the novel coronavirus—but first, we need lots more testing. (GETTY IMAGES)


LARRY BRILLIANT SAYS he doesn’t have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. “A billion people would get sick,” he said. “As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.”

Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say “I told you so” too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google’s nonprofit wing,; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.

We talked by phone on Tuesday. At the time, President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis had started to change from “no worries at all” to finally taking more significant steps to stem the pandemic. Brilliant lives in one of the six Bay Area counties where residents were ordered to shelter in place. When we began the conversation, he’d just gotten off the phone with someone he described as high government official, who asked Brilliant “How the fuck did we get here?” I wanted to hear how we’ll get out of here. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

Read the Q&A at »

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Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

The Maryland Department of Health has published coronavirus directive in Amharic for its Ethiopian residents. (Photo: WMDT)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: March 27th, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

You can read the directive below or view the PDF here.

Maryland Department of Health:

ኮሮና ቫይረስ በሽታ 2019 (COVID-19)
በተደጋጋሚ የሚጠየቁ ጥያቄዎች
መጨረሻ አርትኦት የተደረገው ማርች 6 2020

ሀገረ ገዢው ላሪ ሆጋን በሰጡት በመመሪያ መሰረት ወኪሎች ሁሉን አቀፍ እና የተቀናጀ የመከላከል እና ምላሽ የመስጠት እቅዳቸውን ለ ኮሮና ቫየረስ 2019 (COVID-19) መስጠታቸውን ቀጥለዋል።

የሜሪላንድ ጤና ዲፓርትመንት (MDH) ከህዝቡ ጋር ግንኙነት ማድረግ የሚቀጥል ሲሆን ይህ ሁኔታ ያለበት ደረጃ በማሳወቅ እና ትክክለኛ የሆኑ መረጃዎችን በመስጠት ሲሆን ይህም ራስዎን እና ቤተሰብዎን እንዴት መጠበቅ እንደሚችሉ እንዲያውቁ የሚያደርገ ነው።

COVID-19 ምንድን ነው?

COVID-19 የመተንፈሻ አካላትን በሚያጠቃ ቫይረስ የሚከሰት ሲሆን መጀመሪያ ላይ የተከሰተው ዉሀን፣ ሁቤ ወረዳ ቻይና ውስጥ በዲሴምበር 2019 ነው። COVID-19 አዲስ እና በሰዎች ላይ ህመም ፈጥሮ የማያውቅ በሽታ ነው። በመላው አለም COVID-19 በሺዎች የሚቆጠር በሰዎች ላይ ኢንፌክሽን እና ህመም እንዲፈጠር እና በአንዳንድ ሁኔታዎች ደግሞ ሞት እንዲፈጠር ምክንያት ሆኗል። በሽታው በመላው አለም የተዛመተ ሲሆን በየቀኑ አዳዲስ የመበከል ሪፖርቶች ይወጣሉ።

COVID-19 አሜርካ ውስጥ ተፈጥሯል?

COVID-19 አሜርካ ውስጥ የተሰራጨ ሲሆን አንዳንድ ሰዎች እንዲታመሙ አድርጓል፣ በአንዳንድ ከባድ ሁኔታዎች ውስጥ ደግሞ ሞት እንዲፈጠር አድርጓል።

አብዛኛዎቹ የተረጋገጡ ህመሞች ብዙ የ COVID-19 ታማሚዎች ወዳሉበት ሀገር በአለም አቀፍ ደረጃ ጉዞ ካደረጉ ሰዎች ሲሆን፣ አሜርካ ውስጥ አንዳንድ የስርጭት ሪፖርቶች ተደርገዋል። “የማህበረሰብ ስርጭት” ማለት በአንድ አካባቢ ላይ ሰዎች በቫይረሱ ተይዘዋል ማለት ሲሆን፣ ይህም እንዴት ወይም ከየት እንደተያዙ የማያውቁ ሰዎችንም የሚያካትት ነው።

በህዝቡ ላይ ያለው ስጋት ምንድን ነው?

በአንድ ነጥብ ላይ COVID-19 በከባድ ሁኔታ አሜርካ ውስጥ ሊሰራጭ የሚችልበት እድል አለ። ባለሞያዎች በሚመጡት ሳምንታት እና ወራት ውስጥ አሜርካ ውስጥ እና በመላው አለም ተጨማሪ የኮሮኖ ቫይረስ ክስተቶችን መጠበቅ እንዳለብን አሳውቀዋል።

ጉንፋን እን ኢንፍሉዌንዛ የሚተላለፉት በማህበረሰብ ስርጭት ሲሆን – ይህም ማለት ሰዎች እለታዊ ሕይወታቸውን በሚመሩበት ወቅት ከአንድ ሰው ወደሌላው ይተላለፋል ማለት ነው ሪፖርት የተደረገ የ COVID19 ማህበረሰባዊ ስርጭት ተጽኖ ስር ያሉ ማህበረሰቦችን ወዲያው ሊደርስባቸው የሚችለውን ስጋት ከፍ ያደርገዋል።

አሁን ሜሪላንድ ውስጥ በዚህ አዲስ ቫይረስ የተያዘ ሰው አለ?

በማርች 5 2020 ላይ ሜሪላንድ ወስጥ ሶሰት የተረጋገጡ የ COVID-19 ክስተቶች እንደነበሩ ሪፖርት ተደርጓል። ታካሚዎቹ በቫይረሱ የተጠቁት ከሀገር ውጨ ባደረጉት ጉዞ ወቅት ሲሆን፣ አሁን በመልካም ሁኔታ ላይ እና አሁን ለይቶ በማያቆያ ውስጥ በየቤቶቻቸው ይገኛሉ።

ማርች 5 ላይ ሀገረ ገዢው ሆጋን የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ተጨማሪ በክልሉ ውስጥ ያሉ ግብአቶችን ለመሰባሰብ አውጀዋል። The declaration officially authorized and directed the አዋጁ ለ MDH እና ለሜሪላንድ ድንገተኛ ጊዜ አስተዳደር ወኪል (MEMA) በሁሉም የክልል እና አካባቢ ወኪሎች መካከል ያለውን ትብብር እንዲያሳልጥ ስልጣን እና ትዛዝ የሰጠ ነው። በተጨማሪም አዋጁ MDH እና MEMA በክልላችን እና በአካባቢያዊ ጤና ክፍሎች እንዲሁም ድንገተኛ አስተዳደር ክፍሎች ውስጥ ያለውን ትብብር ያሳልጥ ዘንድ ያስችለዋል።

ትክክለኛ መረጃዎች ስለ ምርመራ እና የክስተት ቁጥሮች በ ላይ ይገኛል። ገጹ በየቀኑ አዳዲስ መረጃዎችን ያወጣል።

በዚህ ሰአት ስጋት ላይ ያለው ማን ነው?

በአሁን ሰአት የሚከተሉት ሰዎች ስጋት ውስጥ ናቸው፡
• ስጋት ወዳለባቸው ቦታዎች ጉዞ ያደረጉ
• COVID-19 ካለበት ሰው ጋር የቅርብ የሆነ የግል ግንኙነት ያላቸው
• COVID-19 ያለባቸውን ሰዎች የሚንከባከቡ

COVID-19 የሚሰራጨው እንዴት ነው?

COVID-19 ልክ እንደጉንፋን ወይም ኢንፍሉዌንዛ በሚከተሉት መንገዶች ሊሰራጭ እንደሚችል ይታሰባል፡

• ማሳል እና ማስነጠስ፣ ይህም የትንፋሽ ጥቃቅን ነጠብጣቦችን ይፈጥራል
• የቅርብ የሆነ አካላዊ ግንኙነት ይህም እንደመንካት እና እጅ መጨባበጥ
• ቫይረሱ ያለበትን ቁስ ወይም እቃ መንካት

የ COVID-19 ምልክቶች ምንድን ናቸው?

• ትኩሳት
• ማሳል
• የትንፋሽ ማጠር
• በጣም ከባድ በሆኑ ሁኔታዎች ውስጥ፣ ኒውሞኒያ (የሳምባ ምች)

COVID-19 አለብኝ ብዬ የማስብ እንደሆነ ምን ማድረግ አለብኝ?

የ COVID-19 ሰጋት ወዳለበት ማንኛውም አካባቢ ጉዞ አድርገው የሆነ እንደሆነ ወይም COVID-19 ካለበት ሰው ጋር ግንኙነት አድርገው የነበር እንደሆነ በተጨማሪም ትኩሳት ሳል ወይም የመተንፈስ ሁኔታ አዳጋች ከሆነብዎ፣ ወዲያውኑ የጤና ምርመራ ያድርጉ። የሚከተሉትን እርምጃዎች ይውሰዱ፡

• ከመሄድዎ በፊት ለሀኪምዎ ወይም የድንገተኛ አገልግሎት ሰጪዎ ይደውሉ
• በቅርብ ስላደረጉት ጉዞ እና የቅርብ ንክኪዎትን (ይህም ቤት ውስጥ ያሉትን ሰዎች ጨምሮ ማለት ነው) ምን እንደነበሩ ያሳውቁ
• ማግኘት የሚችሉ እንደሆነ ጭምብል ያድርጉ

አንድ ሰው COVID-19 ከያዘው ምን ይፈጠራል?

አብዛኛዎቹ ሰዎች ከዚህ ኢንፌክሽን ይፈወሳሉ። አብዛኛዎቹ ሰዎች ዝቅተኛ ወይም ከበድ ያለ ምልክት ያሳያሉ። አንዳንድ ሰዎች ራሳቸውን ቤት ውስጥ ለይተው እንዲያገግሙ ሊመከሩ ይችላሉ። እነዚህ ሰዎች ምልክቶቻቸው እየተባባሱ ከመጡ ለሀኪሞቻቸው ወይም የጤና አገልግሎት ሰጪዎቻቸው መደወል አለባቸው።

አንዳንድ የ COVID-19 ኢንፌክሽኖች ከባድ ህመም ወይም በአንዳንድ ሁኔታዎች ውስጥ ደግሞ ሞትን ያስክትላሉ። አንድ ሰው ከባድ የሆነ ህመም በ COVID-19 ምክንያት ካጋጠመው ሆስፒታል ውስጥ እንዲተኛ ይደረጋል። አረጋውያንን እና ቀድሞ ሌላ የጤና ችግር የነበረባቸው ሰዎች ከባድ ህመም ለመታመም ይበልጥ ተጋላጭ ናቸው። ቀድመው የነበሩ የጤና ስጋት ምሳሌዎች የሚከተሉት ናቸው፡ ካንሰር፣ ስኳር፣ የልብ በሽታ ወይም ሌሎች በሽታ የመከላከል እና ጀርሞችን የመዋጋት አቅምን የሚጎዱ በሽታዎች።

ወደ ውጨ ሀገር የመሄድ እቅዴን ማቆም አለብኝ?

የበሽታ ቁጥጥር እና መከላከል ማእከል (CDC) የጉዞ አማካሪዎችን ማስጠንቀቂያዎች እያደሰ ነው። CDC የግድ አስፈላጊ ያልሆኑ ጉዞዎችን ወደ አንዳንድ ቦታዎች ከማድግ እንዲቆጡ ይመክራል። የጤና ሁኔታዎች አስተማማኝ ያልሆነ ሰዎች የግዴታ ያልሆኑ ጉዞዎችን ወደ አንዳንድ ቦታዎች ከማድረግ እንዲቆጠቡ ይመከራል።

የ CDC ን የጉዞ ማማከር ድረገጽ በመጎብኘት ወደውጪ ሀገር የጉዞ እቅድ እያደረጉ ከሆነ ማስጠንቀቂያዎችን ማየት ይችላሉ፡

ከቤት ወጥቼ ማህበረሰቡን የምቀላቀል ከሆነ ከሆነ የፊት ጭምብል ማድረግ አለብኝ?

የለብዎትም። ከቤት የሚወጡ ከሆነ የፊት ጭምብሎች አይመከሩም ነገር ግን በአንዳንደ መቼቶች ውስጥ የፊት ጭምብሎች ይጠቅማሉ – ይህም እንደ ሆስፒታል ወይም የክሊኒክ መቆያ ክፍል – ሲሆን የመተንፈሻ አካላት በሽታ ከአንድ ሰው ወደሌላኛው አንዳይተላለፍ ማለት ነው።

COVID-19ን ጨምሮ ከመተንፈሻ አካላት በሽታ ሰዎች ራሳቸውን መከላከል ይችሉ ዘንድ የፊት ጭምብል እንዲያደርጉ CDC አይመክርም። የፊት ጭምብል ማድረግ ያለብዎ የጤና ባለሞያ የሚመክርዎ ከሆነ ብቻ ነው። COVID-19 ያለባቸው እና ምልክቱ ያለባቸው ሰዎች የፊት ጭምብል መጠቀም አለባቸው። ይህም ሌሎች ሰዎች አንዲያዙ የሚያደርጋቸውን እድል ለመቀነስ ነው። COVID-19 ያለበትን ሰው በቅርብ ሆነው የሚንከባከቡ ሰዎችም የፊት ጭምብል በቅርብ ርቅት ውስጥ ከሆኑ ማድረግ አለባቸው (ይህም በቤት ወይም በጤና እንክብካቤ ማእከል ወስጥ ሊሆን ይችላል)።

ራሴን እና ሌሎችን ለመጠበቅ ምን ማድረግ እችላለሁ?

እንደ ኢንፍሉዌንዛ እና ጉንፋን አይነት በሽታዎችን ስርጭት ለመከላከል ያስችል ዘንድ በየእለቱ መደረግ ያለባቸውን የመከላከል እርምጃዎችን ይውሰዱ፡

• በሳሙና እና ትኩስ ውሀ ቢያንስ ለ 2 ሰከንዶች እጅዎትን ይታጠቡ
• ቢያንስ 60 በመቶ አልኮል ያለባቸውን የእጅ ጽዳት ምርቶች ሳሙና እና ውሀ የሌለ ከሆነ ይጠቀሙ
• ሳል እና ማስነጠስዎን በእጅዎ በሶፍት ወረቀት ወይም በእጅዎ ክርን ይከልሉ
• አይንዎን አፍንጫዎን እና አፍዎን አይንኩ
• ብዙ ጊዜ በእጅ የሚነኩ እቃዎችን ያጽዱ ወይም መስፈርት የሆኑ የጽዳት ደረጃዎችን በመጠቀም ኢንፌክሽን ያስወግዱ
• ከታመሙ ሰዎች ጋር የቅርብ የሆነን ግንኙነት ያስወግዱ
• ከታመሙ እቤት ይቆዩ፣ ይህም የጤና አገልግሎት ለመፈለግ ከመውጣት ውጪ ማለት ነው

ለ COVID-19 ማግኘት የምችለው ክትባት ወይም መድሀኒት አለ?

የለም ምክንያቱም COVID-19 አዲስ በሽታ ስለሆነ ነው። ነገር ግን፣ ብዙ ባለሞያዎች ለመፈብረክ እየሰሩ ነው። እንደማንኛውም ክትባት ደህንነቱ አስተማማኝ እና ውጤታማ መሆኑን ለመፈተሽ መሞከር አለበት። የ COVID19 ክትባት ዝግጁ እስከሚሆን ድረስ ከአንድ አመት በላይ ሊፈጅ ይችላል።

COVID-19ን የሚፈውስ ምንም አይነት መድሀኒት በዚህ ሰአት የለም። ነገር ግን COVID-19 ያለባቸው ሰዎች የምልክታቸውን ከባድነት ለማስቀነስ የጤና እንክብካቤ ያስፈልጋቸዋል።

ለ COVID-19 እንዴት ዝግጁ ልሆን እችላለሁ?

• በቂ የሆኑ በትዛዝ የማይገዙ መድኒቶችን እና ሌሎች የጤና ግብአቶችን ይህም እንደ ህመም ማስወገጃ፣ የሆድ፣ ሳል እና ጉንፋን መድሀኒቶችን በበቂ መጠን በእጅዎ ላይ አድርገው ያቆዩ
• የተለመዱ በትዛዝ የሚሰቱ መድሀኒቶችን በቂ የሆነ መድሀኒት በእጅዎ ላይ እንዳለ ለማረጋገጥ እርምጃዎችን ይውሰዱ፤ አስፈላጊ የሆነ እንደሆነ እንደገማ መድሀኒቶችዎን ይሙሉ
• የሙቀት መለኪያ፣ ሶፍት እና የእጅ ማጽጃ ከታመሙ እና ቤት ሆነት ማገገም ሊያሰፈልግዎ የሚለች ከሆነ ይያዙ
• ከሚወዷቸው እና ከቤተሰብ አባላት ጋር እነዚህ ሰዎች ቢታመሙ ምን አይነት እንክብካቤ ሊያገኙ እንደሚችሉ እና ቤት ውስጥ እነርሱን ለመንከባከብ ምን ሊያስፈልግ እንደሚችል ይነጋገሩ
• ቤት ውስጥ ለሁለት ሳምንት የሚበቃ ውሀ እና ምግብ መቀመጡን ያረጋግጡ

ሌላ ላውቅ የሚያስፈልግ ነገር አለ?

• ማንኛውንም ሰው ከዘር እና የዘር የጀርባ ታሪክ ጋር ግንኙነት ባለው መልኩ አያግሉ። ቫይረሶች ሰዎችን በዘር፣ የህዝብ መገኛ እና የዘር የጀርባ ታሪክ መርጠው አያጠቁም።
• ሁልጊዜም መረጃ ይኑርዎ እንዲሁም ከአስተማማኝ ምንጭ መረጃዎችን መጠቀም ይቀጥሉ። ትክክለኛ ያልሆኑ መረጃዎችን ኦንላይን እና ከሌላም ቦታ ቢሆን ይጠንቀቁ። በማህበራዊ ሚዲያዎችን የሚጋሩ የጤና መረጃዎች አብዛኛውን ጊዜ ትክክል ያልሆኑ ሲሆን፣ ይህም ከባለስልጣን፣ አስተማማኝ እንደ CDC፣ MDH ወይም አካባቢያዎ ዲፓርትመንት የሚመጣ ካልሆነ ነው።

ለሌሎች ቡድኖች ማለትም ለንግዶች የሚሆኑ ሌሎች ግብአቶች አሉ?

CDC ስለ COVID-19 ትክክለኛ የሆኑ መረጃዎችን በ ላይ ያቀርባል


እርጉዝ ሴቶች፣ የሚያጠቡ እና ልጆች

ትምህርት ቤቶች


ሳምንታዊ እደሳዎች

ሳምንታዊ ኢሜይሎችን ስለ COVID-19 ለመግኘት ኢሜይልዎን ያሰገቡ እና “COVID-19” ብለው በ መተየቢያው ሳጥን ውስጥ ይጻፉ


LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus Pandemic

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Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus Pandemic

Ethiopian fire brigades on Sunday cleaned and disinfected public spaces in the country's capital, Addis Ababa to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo: AA)

The Latest:

Updated: March 29th, 2020

  • As U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 2,000, CDC issues travel advisory for New York tri-state region
  • COVID-19: Fire brigades disinfect Ethiopian capital
  • In Tunisia Factory Workers Making 50k Masks a Day While in Voluntary Lockdown
  • The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming
  • Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead
  • Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community
  • Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump
  • Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus
  • A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy
  • Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19
  • Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread
  • New York City reports 26,697 COVID-19 cases, 450 deaths
  • In California, L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    As U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 2,000, CDC issues travel advisory for hard-hit New York tri-state region

    By The Washington Post

    The United States reached a grim milestone Saturday, doubling the number of coronavirus-related deaths over two days to more than 2,000. New York remained the hardest hit, a devastating toll compounded Saturday by President Trump’s day-long dance over whether he would order a federal quarantine of the New York City metro region — a proposal he ultimately retracted… New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) called the idea “preposterous” and equated it to imprisonment and “a declaration of war.”…instead, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would issue a “strong travel advisory” for the New York tri-state area. The CDC advisory urged residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” though the three states issued stay-home orders to the same effect March 20.

    Read more »

    Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic. The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths. While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

    Read more »

    Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

    Read more »

    Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump

    By The Washington Post

    Masks that used to cost pennies now cost several dollars. Companies outside the traditional supply chain offer wildly varying levels of price and quality. Health authorities say they have few other choices to meet their needs in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ battle.

    Read more »

    Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus

    By VOA

    ADDIS ABABA – Health experts in Ethiopia are raising concern, as some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings despite government orders not to do so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, Ethiopia’s government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopia has seen only 12 cases and no deaths from the virus, and authorities would like to keep it that way. But enforcing the orders has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet and, according to religious leaders, fail to treat the risks seriously.

    Read more »

    U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000

    By The Washington Post

    It began as a mysterious disease with frightening potential. Now, just two months after America’s first confirmed case, the country is grappling with a lethal reality: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, a toll that is increasing at an alarming rate.

    Read more »

    A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy

    By The Washington Post

    A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

    Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

    “The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19

    Photo via

    As universities across Ethiopia close to avert spread of the COVID-19 virus, Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures they have taken to rescue 17 Amhara students from Dembi Dolo University in Western Oromia, who were abducted by unidentified people in November 2019 and have been missing since.

    The anguish of the students’ families is exacerbated by a phone and internet shutdown implemented in January across the western Oromia region further hampering their efforts to get information about their missing loved ones.

    “The sense of fear and uncertainty spreading across Ethiopia because of COVID-19 is exacerbating the anguish of these students’ families, who are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their loved ones four months after they were abducted,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities’ move to close universities in order to protect the lives of university students is commendable, but they must also take similarly concrete actions to locate and rescue the 17 missing students so that they too are reunited with their families.”

    Read more »

    UPDATE: New York City is now reporting 26,697 COVID-19 cases and 450 deaths.

    BY ABC7 NY

    Temporary hospital space in New York City will begin opening on Monday and more supplies are on the way as an already overwhelmed medical community anticipates even more coronavirus patients in the coming days. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted 20 trucks were on the road delivering protective equipment to hospitals, including surgical masks, N95 masks, and hundreds more ventilators.

    Governor Cuomo added the temporary hospital in the Javits Center will open on Monday the same day that the USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City.

    Read more »

    Related: New York sees some signs of progress against coronavirus as New Orleans hit hard (REUTERS)

    L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    By Business Insider

    Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

    “I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

    In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

    “I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

    “Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    By CNN

    Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

    The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

    There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
    Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures, including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

    Read more »

    U.S. House passes $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill

    Watch: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York breaks down massive coronavirus aid package (MSNBC Video)

    By The Washington Post

    The House of Representatives voted Friday [March 27th] to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that policy makers hope will blunt the economic destruction of the coronavirus pandemic, sending the legislation to President Trump for enactment. The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

    Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response

    By AFP

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.
    The pandemic “poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries,” Abiy’s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was “working closely with other African countries” in preparing the aid request.

    The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries’ health budgets, the statement said.

    Read more »

    Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)

    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough and the vast majority recover in 2-6 weeks but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, the virus that causes COVID-19 can result in more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    Read more »

    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home

    A flier urging customers to remain home hangs at a turnstile as an MTA employee sanitizes surfaces at a subway station with bleach solutions due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes Monday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

    Partisan divisions stalled efforts to pass a colossal aid package in Congress, and stocks fell again on Wall Street even after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them through the crisis.

    Warning that the outbreak is accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization called on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

    “We are not helpless bystanders,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that it took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000. “We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

    Read more »

    China’s Coronavirus Donation to Africa Arrives in Ethiopia (Reuters)

    An Ethiopian Airlines worker transports a consignment of medical donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation to Africa for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    The first batch of protective and medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was flown into the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, as coronavirus cases in Africa rose above 1,100.

    The virus has spread more slowly in Africa than in Asia or Europe but has a foothold in 41 African nations and two territories. So far it has claimed 37 lives across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    The shipment is a much-needed boost to African healthcare systems that were already stretched before the coronavirus crisis, but nations will still need to ration supplies at a time of global scarcity.

    Only patients showing symptoms will be tested, the regional Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

    “The flight carried 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields,” Ma’s foundation said in a statement.

    “The faster we move, the earlier we can help.”

    The shipment had a sign attached with the slogan, “when people are determined they can overcome anything”.

    Read more »


    We Need Seismic Change, Right Now: by Marcus Samuelsson

    City Sleeps: A Look At The Empty NYC Streets Amid The Virus – In Pictures

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)

    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Photo: Mulugeta Ayene, AP)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    A ruling party official in the Oromia region, Taye Dendea, on Sunday posted on Facebook saying that “tourists and other foreigners are not travelling to these areas because of the security problem that exists there, so there’s little chance that the virus will get there.”

    Human Rights Watch has said millions of Ethiopians are not getting access to timely and accurate information.

    “It is laudable that (Ethiopia’s prime minister) Abiy is taking charge of managing a coronavirus prevention effort on the African continent, but he should not ignore the needs of those within his own country.”

    Yohannes Tessema, a political figure from the Benishangul Gumuz region, said both internet and phones lines are cut in some locations and that it’s difficult to disseminate information about the pandemic to residents.

    “We have never experienced such lengthy cuts in the past. People in these areas are not getting badly needed updates, and that is dangerous,” he said.


    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Confirms More COVID19 Cases

    Dr. Lia Tadesse, Ethiopia's Minister of Health. (Photo via Facebook/Public Health Officers Association of Ethiopia)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: March 20th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Among the latest COVID-19 infected individuals in Ethiopia are a 39-year-old Austrian who arrived in Addis Ababa on March 15th, a 44-year-old Japanese national, and an 85-year-old Ethiopian who returned from abroad on March 2nd, raising the country’s total confirmed cases to 9.

    According to a statement by Ethiopian Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse, the 85-year-old patient “has a severe form of illness and under close medical care” while the rest are reported to be in stable condition.

    The Ministry of Health also urged travelers from affected countries to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

    Responding to reported incidents of xenophobia fueled by Coronavirus fears, Dr. Lia said: “#COVID19 is not related to any country or nationality. It is a test against all humanity. We should fight it together and defeat it. I call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands with the world to fight this global challenge.”


    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    COVID-19: U.S. Warns Citizens in Ethiopia of Xenophobic Attacks

    Ethiopia Closes Schools, Bans Public Events

    WHO Says Some Nations Aren’t Running Enough Coronavirus Tests

    How it spreads, infects: Coronavirus impact comes into focus

    Coronavirus Sparks an Epidemic of People Helping People in Seattle

    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Coronavirus Sparks an Epidemic of People Helping People in Seattle

    Ethiopian American Yadesa Bojia is a Seattle artist who was concerned about the lack of information about the coronavirus reaching the Ethiopian community, so he did a Facebook live video in Amharic over the weekend to get accurate information out to the community. (The Seattle Times)

    The Seattle Times

    By Naomi Ishisaka

    In my last column I wrote that the novel coronavirus outbreak showed us the gaps in our social safety net and the systems that we urgently need to fix.

    But what this crisis has also exposed in the past week is the way in which people, guided by their hearts, are stepping up to support each other in extraordinary ways.

    People like Yadesa Bojia, who is a Seattle-based artist and University of Washington graphic designer. Bojia recently became alarmed after talking with other Ethiopian American community members in his first language, Amharic, and realizing there was a lack of solid, scientifically grounded information about the coronavirus getting out to the community. Some people he talked to thought the disease was airborne, others thought it could be cured or prevented with traditional herbal medicine or stopped with vitamin C. Bojia knew that Public Health – Seattle & King County created coronavirus fact sheets in multiple languages, but didn’t think people in his immigrant community would know where to find them.

    So on March 7, Bojia decided to do something about it. Armed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health guidance, he started a Facebook live video to read recommendations for the community in Amharic. To his surprise, the video has been viewed 2,000 times and counting. Getting this information out, Bojia said, is “a matter of life and death,” for not just the nearly 25% of King County that are immigrants but the entire community.

    Bojia is just one of many across the region who have lent their resources to help others during this unprecedented time. This pandemic has upended every part of our daily lives and sent social, economic and political shock waves throughout our society. Fear might bring out some of our worst instincts, but crises bring out the best in humanity as well.

    In the days since the Seattle area became the epicenter of the outbreak, the outpouring of support has been moving and inspiring. On an individual level, people have offered free babysitting, cooking and food delivery for harried parents and medically vulnerable older adults.

    After racist coronavirus fears drove down business in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, Bill Tashima, a board member for the local Japanese American Citizens League, created a Facebook group on Sunday to share ways to support small restaurants. Within days, the group had nearly 5,000 members, sharing ideas for restaurant takeout to boost business in the struggling district and creating a virtual “tip jar” that one member was using to collect donations for restaurant workers.

    The artistic community, which already experiences economic insecurity in good times due to unpredictable contract-based work, saw all public events canceled like dominoes in the past week. Seattle-area author Ijeoma Oluo quickly set up a GoFundMe on Monday to raise and distribute funds for artists. Within days, the fund raised $80,000 and distributed $10,000 and was in the process of distributing another $30,000 to artists directly impacted by loss of income due to the coronavirus. Another group of people started a live-performance streaming site on Facebook called “The Quarantine Sessions,” where artists can perform and the audience can tip the band before their performance starts.

    Read more »


    Screening causes massive bottlenecks at U.S. airports

    List of African Countries with Coronavirus Grows as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan Report Cases

    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Coronavirus: Americans Told to ‘Hunker Down’

    Tourists wear face masks as news about the coronavirus is seen in a reflection off a glass surface in Time Square in New York on Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo)


    UPDATE: March 17th, 2020

    US life with COVID-19: A state-by-state patchwork of rules

    As the nation struggles to reconcile itself to a new and spreading peril, it also struggles with a patchwork of rules that vary dizzyingly from place to place: For now, your life and lockdown in the shadow of COVID-19 depends on where you live.

    In some places, many ordinary Americans are making public health choices, searching their own conscience and deciding for themselves what risk they’re willing to endure. In others, government has made at least some of those decisions.

    Ohio canceled its presidential primary to avoid crowds, but the polls opened Tuesday morning in Florida, Illinois and Arizona. Bars in some states prepared for hordes of St. Patrick’s Day revelers, while elsewhere others are stacking the stools up on tables and locking the doors.

    Casinos in some states have shut down, yet others remain open, where hundreds or even thousands of people touch the same slot machines and gambling chips. Spring breakers are partying by the hundreds on some beaches, while police are sweeping others, ordering people away through loud speakers.

    The federal government on Monday urged Americans not to gather in groups of 10 or more and asked older people to stay home, as the number of infections in the U.S. climbed to more than 4,500, with at least 88 deaths. But hard rules have been left up to the states, creating what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo derided as a “hodgepodge.”

    Jennifer Dykstra, the owner of a restaurant called Kitchen House in rural Michigan, cried all weekend, paralyzed to choose which prospect seemed more terrifying.

    She could close her restaurant, potentially putting herself out of business and rendering her 25 employees unemployed. Or she could stay open, risking their health and that of their customers, many of them old friends and regulars, who’d suddenly stopped shaking hands on their way in and started instead making nervous jokes about preferring tables in the virus-free section.

    “It’s been lurking in the room, weighing heavily on us: what is the right answer, what is the right thing to do?” she said. Then Michigan announced Monday afternoon that all bars and restaurants must close to dine-in customers: “I’m relieved that the decision was made for us,” Dykstra said.

    Even as some states made stunning announcements — 7 million people in the San Francisco area were put on a near-total lock-down — life carried on in others.

    Read more »

    How it spreads, infects: Coronavirus impact comes into focus

    The Associated Press

    The medical impact of the new coronavirus is coming into sharper focus as it continues its spread in what is now officially recognized as a pandemic.

    Its true fatality rate isn’t yet known, but it seems 10 times higher than the flu, which kills hundreds of thousands around the world each year, the United States’ top infectious disease expert told lawmakers last week.

    Most people have had mild to moderate illness and recovered, but the virus is more serious for those who are older or have other health problems.

    That’s a huge number, said Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who now heads a global health organization. In the U.S., 60% of adults have at least one underlying health condition and 42% have two or more.

    “There’s still a lot that we don’t know” about the virus and disease it causes, COVID-19, he said.


    Most spread is from droplets produced when an infected person coughs, which are inhaled by people nearby. Transmission from touching contaminated surfaces hasn’t been shown yet, though recent tests by U.S. scientists suggest it’s possible — one reason they recommend washing your hands and not touching your face.

    The virus can live in the air for several hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Cleaning surfaces with solutions containing diluted bleach should kill it.

    “While we are still learning about the biology of this virus, it does not appear that there is a major risk of spread through sweat,” said Julie Fischer, a Georgetown University microbiologist. The biggest concern about going to the gym is infected people coughing on others, or contaminating shared surfaces or equipment, she said. Consider avoiding large classes and peak hours and don’t go if you’re coughing or feverish, she suggests.

    The risk of virus transmission from food servers is the same risk as transmission from other infected people, but “one of the concerns in that food servers, like others facing stark choices about insurance and paychecks, may be pressured to work even if they are sick,” she said.


    Each infected person spreads to two or three others on average, researchers estimate. It spreads more easily than flu but less than measles, tuberculosis or some other respiratory diseases. It is not known if it spreads less easily among children, but fewer of them have been diagnosed with the disease. A study of 1,099 patients in China found that 0.9% of the cases were younger than 15.


    Most people get fever and cough, sometimes fatigue or shortness of breath, and recover after about two weeks. About 15% develop severe disease, including pneumonia, Chinese scientists reported from 45,000 cases there. Symptoms usually start slowly and often worsen as the illness goes on.

    In a report last week on the first 12 patients in the U.S., seven were hospitalized; most had underlying health problems and got worse during the second week of illness.

    In China, slightly more males have been diagnosed with COVID-19 than females, which might be because roughly half of Chinese men smoke but only 5% of females do, Frieden said.

    Children seem to get less sick — a report on 10 in China found that fevers tended to be milder and they lacked clear signs of pneumonia.


    Some cruise ship passengers described symptoms similar to the common cold or flu.

    “It’s been a 2 on a scale of 10,” said Carl Goldman, who was hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska, after flying home.

    However, a Chinese postgraduate student described going to the hospital twice after her symptoms worsened, and feeling “a heavy head while walking, unable to breathe, and nauseous.”


    The CDC recommends at least two swabs — nose and throat. Samples are sent to labs that look for bits of viral genetic material, which takes roughly 4 to 6 hours. Altogether, it can take several days to ship a sample and get results back.

    It’s been taking two to three days, and “we are working really hard to see if we can shorten that time” by developing an in-house test, Dr. Aimee Moulin of the University of California, Davis said Thursday in a conference call held by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

    Some areas have opened drive-thru sites for testing, which could reduce exposure to health workers and other patients or the public.


    The average time from exposure to developing symptoms is five to six days, but can be up to two weeks. Tests have found high amounts of virus in the throats and noses of people a couple days before they show symptoms.

    Signs of virus also have been found in stool weeks after patients recover, but that doesn’t mean it’s capable of causing illness, scientists warn.

    “The virus can be degraded,” said Robert Webster, a St. Jude Children’s Research Center virus expert. “It’s not necessarily infectious virus at all.”


    That won’t be known until large studies are done to test big groups of people to see how many have been infected and with or without symptoms.

    Scientists have estimated the fatality rate from less than 1% to as high as 4% among cases diagnosed so far, depending on location.

    Flu kills about 0.1% of those it infects, so the new virus seems about 10 times more lethal, the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress last week.

    The death rate has been higher among people with other health problems — more than 10% for those with heart disease, for example. In the U.S., 30 million have diabetes, more than 70 million are obese and nearly 80 million have high blood pressure.


    It’s not known. A few reports from China say some people had COVID-19, recovered and then fell ill again. It’s unclear if that’s a relapse, a new infection, or a case where the person never fully recovered in the first place.

    Scientists at the at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle say the 30,000-letter genetic code of the virus changes by one letter every 15 days. It’s not known how many of these changes would be needed for the virus to seem different enough to the immune system of someone who had a previous version of it for it to cause a fresh infection.

    Fauci told Congress on Thursday that it was unlikely that someone could get reinfected.

    “We haven’t formally proved it, but it is strongly likely that that’s the case,” he said. “Because if this acts like any other virus, once you recover, you won’t get reinfected.”


    Flu fades each spring and the new virus may do the same, Fauci said last week in a podcast with a journal editor.

    “I am hoping that as we get into the warmer weather we will see a decline that will give us a chance to get our preparedness up to speed,” Fauci said.

    But that, too, is far from certain. “We have to assume that the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread, and it’s a false hope to say yes, it will just disappear in the summertime like influenza,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief.

    Flu viruses also mutate quickly, requiring new vaccines to be made each year. If the coronavirus follows suit, Frieden said, “It could become a virus that circulates around the world for many years to come.”


    Watch: U.S. told to ‘hunker down’ on coronavirus as state officials say they’re ‘on our own’

    List of African Countries with Coronavirus Grows as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan Report Cases

    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

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    COVID-19: Ethiopia Closes Schools, Bans Public Events

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says steps necessary after new coronavirus cases rise. (AA)


    By Addis Getachew

    UPDATEd: March 16th, 2020

    Ethiopia Closes Schools, Bans Public Events

    ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia on Monday closed schools across the country and banned all public gatherings, including sports events, for 15 days.

    The decision was announced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after consultations with top officials on measures to avert a COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

    In a televised message, the premier said the steps were necessary after four new cases were confirmed in Ethiopia over the past 24 hours, raising the total to five.

    Among the new cases are two Japanese and an Ethiopian national who had been in contact with the country’s first patient, a 48-year-old Japanese citizen.

    The fourth case was an Ethiopian man who recently returned from Dubai.

    Ahmed said his government was making efforts to provide protective face masks, medical kits, and disinfectants, including sanitizers, for the public.

    He announced that government vehicles would be used for public transport to ease the burden on the existing system.

    With only primary and secondary schools being closed for now, Abiy said that university students would be provided all essential care at their respective campuses.

    After emerging in Wuhan, China, last December, the coronavirus has now spread to at least 146 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The global death toll is nearly 6,500, with around 165,000 confirmed cases.

    While the WHO recently declared the global outbreak a pandemic, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation was controllable.

    In his remarks at a March 3 briefing on COVID-19, Tedros also pointed out that the mortality rate from the virus was around 3.4%.

    List of African Countries with Coronavirus Grows as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan Report Cases

    Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, addresses a press conference after the first case of Covid-19 coronavirus was detected in Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa on March 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP)


    Africa had until now largely been spared the rapid spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 135,000 people and killed around 5,000 worldwide.

    Most of Africa’s reported cases were foreigners or people who had travelled abroad. Rapid testing and quarantines have been put in place to limit transmission.

    But concerns are growing about the continent’s ability to handle the disease.

    Cases have been reported in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.

    Mauritania’s health ministry said late on Friday that its first coronavirus patient is a European man – nationality not specified – who had returned to Nouakchott on March 9 and had since been in quarantine.

    The numbers of cases in most of the countries are still in single figures…

    Read more »

    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, on Wednesday. He called for countries to help protect one another against a common threat. (Getty Images)

    The New York Times

    Updated: March 11, 2020

    Coronavirus Has Become a Pandemic, W.H.O. Says

    The spread of the coronavirus is now a pandemic, officials at the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

    “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director-general.

    Dr. Tedros called for countries to learn from one another’s successes, act in unison and help protect one another against a common threat.

    “Find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact,” Dr. Tedros said. “Ready your hospitals. Protect and train your health care workers.”

    “Let’s all look out for each other, because we’re in this together to do the right things with calm and to protect the citizens of the world.”

    Although this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, “we also believe that this is the first pandemic that is able to be controlled,” Dr. Tedros added.

    He pointed several times to the success of China, which has cut new infections from over 3,500 a day in late January to a mere 24 in the most recent daily count. The world is watching to see whether China can keep its numbers down as it gradually releases millions of city dwellers from quarantine and lets them go back to work.

    South Korea and Singapore have also begun to see cases drop. But the rest of the world is seeing alarmingly rapid rises.

    The W.H.O. is emphatically not suggesting that the world should give up on containment, Dr. Tedros said.

    “We are suggesting a blended strategy,” he said, referring to a blend of containment and mitigation. “We should double down. We should be more aggressive.”

    Read more »


    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

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    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, on Wednesday. He called for countries to help protect one another against a common threat. (Getty Images)

    The New York Times

    Updated: March 11, 2020

    Coronavirus Has Become a Pandemic, W.H.O. Says

    The spread of the coronavirus is now a pandemic, officials at the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

    “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director-general.

    Dr. Tedros called for countries to learn from one another’s successes, act in unison and help protect one another against a common threat.

    “Find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact,” Dr. Tedros said. “Ready your hospitals. Protect and train your health care workers.”

    “Let’s all look out for each other, because we’re in this together to do the right things with calm and to protect the citizens of the world.”

    Although this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, “we also believe that this is the first pandemic that is able to be controlled,” Dr. Tedros added.

    He pointed several times to the success of China, which has cut new infections from over 3,500 a day in late January to a mere 24 in the most recent daily count. The world is watching to see whether China can keep its numbers down as it gradually releases millions of city dwellers from quarantine and lets them go back to work.

    South Korea and Singapore have also begun to see cases drop. But the rest of the world is seeing alarmingly rapid rises.

    The W.H.O. is emphatically not suggesting that the world should give up on containment, Dr. Tedros said.

    “We are suggesting a blended strategy,” he said, referring to a blend of containment and mitigation. “We should double down. We should be more aggressive.”

    Read more »

    In U.S., Efforts to Contain Coronavirus Show Signs of Faltering (UPDATE)

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke to reporters March 7 in Northwest D.C., saying a man in his 50s was admitted to a D.C. hospital on March 5. (DC Mayor’s Office)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: March 7, 2020

    Efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak showed signs of faltering over the weekend, as Washington, D.C., confirmed its first case Saturday and Italian leaders announced a plan early Sunday to lock down an entire region including Venice and Milan after reporting 1,000 new cases in 24 hours.

    The virus’s exact reach remains unknown. Late Saturday, the American Conservative Union announced that an individual who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference less than two weeks ago had tested positive. President Trump, Vice President Pence and a number of other top White House officials had appeared at the four-day event in Maryland.

    White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said neither Trump nor Pence was in “close proximity to the attendee,” but ACU chairman Matt Schlapp told The Washington Post on Saturday that he himself interacted with the infected person at the event. The precise chronology could not be learned, but Schlapp did shake Trump’s hand on the stage on the last day of the conference.

    “I think we have to be calm and see what occurs here and hope our friend gets better,” Schlapp said.

    White House officials appeared to minimize the risk but said they were taking precautions. Trump told reporters at his personal resort in southern Florida that he wasn’t worried.

    “I’m not concerned at all,” Trump said as he met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for dinner. He also indicated that his campaign rallies, which draws thousands of supporters to large venues nationwide, will continue, saying: “We’ll hold tremendous rallies.”

    The virus has now spread to more than 30 U.S. states and 99 countries, according to a Washington Post analysis. At least six U.S. governors have declared states of emergency. There are now more than 100,000 infected people in the world and more than 400 confirmed cases in the United States, where there have been at least 19 deaths. This includes the addition Saturday of two in Washington state. Florida officials announced two deaths on Friday night. Officials said they had not known one of the two people was infected until after the death.

    Read more »


    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

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    The Ethiopian at Heart of Coronavirus Fight

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the first African to lead the World Health Organization. (Getty Images)


    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

    What a challenge to be the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the time of the coronavirus.

    The entire planet hanging on your every word, addressing daily press conferences at the headquarters in Geneva to detail an ever increasing number of cases in an ever increasing number of countries.

    This is the lot of Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African head of the WHO, who took office two-and-a-half years ago promising to reform the organisation, and to tackle the illnesses that kill millions each year: malaria, measles, childhood pneumonia, or HIV/Aids.

    And yet, while the WHO is undoubtedly working hard on those illnesses, Dr Tedros’ time in office has been dominated first by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and now by Covid-19.

    Both have been declared Public Health Emergencies of International Concern, or PHEICs.

    ‘Charming and unassuming’

    That means they require 24-hour monitoring, deployment of medical staff, equipment and medicines, daily discussions with affected countries and countries who might be affected, and of course, a steady stream of reliable information for an anxious world desperate for immediate answers.

    “Charming” and “unassuming” are some of the words those who know him use to describe the 55-year-old.

    At his first press conference as WHO director general, the Geneva-based journalists were somewhat bemused by his manner.

    He strolled in smiling, sat down and chatted in a very relaxed way, his voice sometimes so quiet it was difficult to hear him. That was a very big change from his more formal predecessor, Margaret Chan.

    And yet behind that quiet manner there must lie a very determined man.

    Before becoming head of the WHO he climbed through the ranks of Ethiopia’s government, becoming health minister and then foreign minister. He could not have risen that far by being self-effacing.

    Brother died of suspected measles

    Dr Tedros was born in 1965 in Asmara, which became Eritrea’s capital after independence from Ethiopia in 1991, and grew up in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

    One formative, and now motivating experience, was the death of a younger brother, who was around four years old at the time, he told Time magazine in November. Later, as a student, Dr Tedros came to suspect it was measles that killed him.

    “I didn’t accept it; I don’t accept it even now,” he was quoted as saying, adding that it was unfair that a child should die from a preventable disease just because he was born in the wrong place.

    “All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this,” he told the World Health Assembly shortly before his election as WHO chief.

    Read more »


    UPDATE: Tensions Rise as U.S. Death Toll From Coronavirus Reaches 9

    UN Health Agency Tackles Misinformation Over Virus Outbreak

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    Mystery Sickness in Eastern Ethiopia?

    As villagers in Somali region fall ill in unexplained circumstances, some locals fear gas exploration has tainted the local water supply. (Photo: A natural gas well at one of the Hilal gas fields in Ethiopia’s Somali region/The Guardian)

    The Guardian

    The mystery sickness bringing death and dismay to eastern Ethiopia

    At first, 23-year-old Khadar Abdi Abdullahi’s eyes began turning yellow. Then the palms of his hands did the same. Soon he was bleeding from his nose, and from his mouth, and his body was swelling all over. Eventually he collapsed with fever. He later died.

    A deadly sickness is spreading through villages near a Chinese natural gas project in Ethiopia’s Somali region, according to locals and officials who spoke to the Guardian. Many of Khadar’s neighbours have suffered the same symptoms. Like him, some died.

    It is not clear what is causing the sickness, and officials in the federal government in Addis Ababa firmly denied allegations both of a health and environmental crisis in the Somali region, or of any problems relating to large-scale energy projects there.

    Poly-GCL, a partly state-owned Chinese company, has been prospecting for oil and gas in the Ogaden Basin, as the vicinity is known, since 2014. Calub, roughly 500km south-east of Jigjiga and near neighbouring Somalia, is due to start commercial gas production soon.

    Khadar, like many from the area, is suspicious that the sickness is caused by hazardous chemical waste that has poisoned the water supply.

    “It is the toxins that flow in the rainfall from Calub [gas field] that are responsible for this epidemic,” said Khadar, as he sat outdoors in the eastern Ethiopian city of Jigjiga.

    He had recently been discharged from hospital; doctors there said there was nothing more they could do for him. He was weak and thin and his eyes were sinking into their sockets.

    “There are new diseases that have never been seen before in this area,” said an adviser to the Somali regional government, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    “Without any public health protection, it is very clear that Poly-GCL uses chemicals that are detrimental to human health.”

    It is an allegation the Guardian heard repeatedly during a recent visit to the thinly populated scrubland that surrounds Calub gas field, though it was not able to independently verify its veracity.

    Poly-GCL did not respond to requests to comment.

    Ketsela Tadesse, director of licensing at the federal ministry of mines and petroleum, said the government was not aware of any reports of spillages, adding that in any case there were “there are no permanent settlers” in the vicinity of the gas field.

    “We can emphatically state that all the gas wells at Calub and elsewhere in the Ogaden Basin, are sealed, safe and secured … according to international standards,” Tadesse said.

    What is clear, however, is that the mysterious sickness has caused deaths.

    Read more »

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    UN Health Agency Tackles Misinformation Over Virus Outbreak

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Photo via AP)

    The Associated Press

    GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization chief has traveled a dozen times to monitor the Ebola response in violence-marred eastern Congo. But when he planned to visit China’s capital last week over a new viral outbreak emerging from central Hubei province, his daughter got worried.

    “Before I left for Beijing, my daughter was saying, ‘Oh, you should not go,’” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confided to the U.N. health agency’s executive board in a public session on Monday.

    The account exemplifies the fine line WHO officials are navigating between fear about the new coronavirus and hopes of increasing international preparedness about an outbreak that has taken more than 360 lives and infected at least 17,238 people in China since late December — and could become a pandemic. So far, growth has been exponential in China, but elsewhere cases remain under 150, scattered across nearly two dozen countries.

    “Instead of spending time on fear and panic, we should say this is the time to prepare,” Tedros said. “Because 146 cases, by any standard, is very low.”

    As governments clamp down on travel to China, airlines suspend flights and Chinese nationals fret about rising xenophobia and ostracism, WHO is calibrating a message of praise to Chinese officials and trying to focus on the epicenter — Wuhan city and surrounding Hubei province — to keep the virus from spiraling out of control. It also wants to help get weaker health systems ready.

    Before he left for the meeting with President Xi Jinping last week, Tedros reassured his daughter: “It’s ok, it’s not all over China.”

    “Even in China, the virus is not evenly spread everywhere, and the risk is not the same,” he recalled. “When I was in Beijing, what we had discussed with the authorities is that our concentrated effort should be in the epicenters, or the sources of the virus.”

    Pausing on a couple of occasions to cough, clear his throat, and drink some water, Tedros quipped: “Don’t worry: It’s not corona,” prompting laughter.

    WHO is also battling misinformation, working with Google to ensure that people get facts from the U.N. health agency first when they search for information about the virus. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tencent and TikTok have also taken steps to limit the spread of misinformation and rumors about the outbreak.

    Chinese officials are increasingly speaking out. At the executive board meeting, Ambassador Li Song, deputy permanent representative for China in Geneva, lashed out at flight cancellations, visa denials and refusals by some countries to admit citizens of Hubei province — saying those moves went against WHO recommendations.

    Li noted how President Xi, in his meeting with Tedros, had said the coronavirus epidemic “is a devil — we cannot let the devil hide.”

    “At the same time, the international community needs to treat the new virus objectively, fairly, calmly, and rationally, and not over-interpret it negatively and pessimistically, or deliberately create panic,” Li said.

    “We need facts, not fear. We need science, not rumors. We need solidarity, not stigma.”

    Since the outbreak began, a number of misleading claims and hoaxes about the virus have circulated online. They include false conspiracy theories that the virus was created in a lab and that vaccines have already been manufactured, exaggerations about the number of sick and dead, and claims about bogus cures.

    On Sunday, WHO lamented that the outbreak and response have been accompanied “by a massive ‘infodemic’ — an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.

    The report said WHO, the U.N. health agency, was working “24 hours a day to identify the most prevalent rumors that can potentially harm the public’s health, such as false prevention measures or cures.”

    Tedros also addressed his decision last week to classify the virus outbreak as a global emergency, saying the move was prompted by increased human-to-human spread of the virus to numerous countries and the fear it could have a significant impact on developing countries with weaker health systems.

    Tedros said recent outbreaks such as the new virus and Ebola demonstrated the shortcomings of the “binary” emergency system, calling it “too restrictive, too simplistic, and not fit for purpose.”

    “We have a green light, a red light, and nothing in-between,” he said, adding that WHO was considering options to allow for an “intermediate level of alert.”

    In July, Tedros declared the Ebola outbreak in Congo a global emergency: There have been 3,421 cases and 2,242 deaths from it since the outbreak began 18 months ago.

    The WHO executive board, which is starting a six-day meeting, plans to hold a special technical session on the virus Tuesday.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    11th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education

    The 2019 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education will be held in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, October 19th. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    October 18th, 2019

    New York (TADIAS) — The 11th annual Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education will take place this weekend in Arlington, Virginia.

    Hosted by People to People Inc. (P2P) and the Network of Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare Professionals, the yearly gathering attracts a diverse group of health practitioners across the country including physicians as well as medical and allied health students. The theme for this year’s conference is “End Stage Renal Disease in Resource Malaligned Countries – Issues of Ethics and Equity.”

    Guest speakers for the program include the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fistum Arega, and several distinguished medical professionals covering a wide array of presentation topics such as enhancing the availability and affordability of pharmaceuticals in Ethiopia as well as promoting “Partnerships in Health; Diaspora Professionals as the link between Ethiopian and US Institutions.”

    The event is scheduled to be held on Saturday October 19th at the Residence Inn Arlington, Pentagon City with sponsors including the Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development (MCSCPD).

    Below are some of the speakers listed on the program courtesy of P2P:

    Alodia Gabre-Kidan, M.D., M.P.H.

    Dr. Alodia Gabre-Kidan is an assistant professor of surgery specializing in colorectal surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a masters of public health degree from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She completed general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia Campus and a colorectal surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Florida. She performs a variety of colorectal surgical procedures including minimally invasive options

    Getachew Begashaw, PhD

    Getachew Begashaw was born and raised in Ethiopia. He completed his undergraduate studies in History at Haile Selassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Economics at University of California, Santa Cruz. He did both his Masters and Ph.D in Economics and Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University. He is the founder and President of Vision Ethiopia. Dr. Begashaw’s area of studies and research, beside general theories of economics, are primarily focused in public service expenditures, international trade, and economics of development.

    Fasika Tedla, M.D.

    Dr. Fasika M. Tedla is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Associate Medical Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. After graduating from Jimma University Faculty of Medicine, he completed his residency in internal medicine at a teaching affiliate of New York Medical College (formerly Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center) and his nephrology, transplant nephrology, and interventional nephrology training at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He also has graduate training and board certification in clinical informatics.

    Maaza Sophia Abdi, M.D.

    Dr. Maaza Abdi is a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship at MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center. She worked in a private practice setting for ten years before joining Johns Hopkins, where she currently works as a GI hospitalist caring for patients with a variety of gastrointestinal disorders at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    Momina Ahmed, M.D.

    After training as an ISN Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand Hospital in 2011 and through a growing collaboration with the University of Michigan, Dr. Momina Ahmed established nephrology programs at SPHMMC to cater for more kidney transplants and treat acute kidney injury.

    Tigist Hailu, M.D.

    Dr. Tigist Hailu is a general cardiologist in the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute of the Division of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. She completed her medical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and pursued a fellowship in cardiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus.She practiced in a private cardiology group for 4 years before joining Johns Hopkins in 2009. In addition to practicing clinical cardiology, she is expert is cardiac imaging including echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.

    Sosena Kebede, M.D., M.P.H.

    Dr. Sosena Kebede is an Internal Medicine physician with over 17 years of combined clinical, public health, and quality improvement experience with a committing to finding solutions to health system challenges in the US and abroad. She completed her medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Internal Medicine residency at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She obtained a masters of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She specializes in the areas of population health, and health service delivery improvement and has several years of domestic and global experience in scientific research and health workforce training.

    Merfake Semret, MD

    Dr. Merfake Semret is practicing Nephrology at Peninsula Kidney Associates, in Hampton/Newport news/Williamsburg, Virginia. He received medical degree from Addis Ababa University Medical Faculty (Black Lion) and MPH from Royal Tropical Institute, the Netherlands. He then proceeded to serve as Public Health consultant in different parts of SNNPR(Ethipia). Dr. Semret immigrated to the U.S. in 2002 and completed Internal Medicine residency at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and Nephrology fellowship at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Currently he is practicing Nephrology at Peninsula Kidney Associates, in Hampton/Newport news/Williamsburg, Virginia

    Ergeba Sheferaw, M.D.,M.P.H

    Dr. Ergeba Sheferaw is a radiologist at Advanced Radiology in Baltimore, MD. She specializes in breast imaging and completed her fellowship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. She is interested in improving breast cancer care in Ethiopia and recently worked with the first breast imaging fellows at St. Paul Millenium College Hospital. She has been an active member of People to People and now serves as a board member and assistant editor of the newsletter. She completed her medical degree and Master of Public Health from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.

    Yewondwossen Tadesse Mengistu, M.D.

    Yewondwossen Tadesse Mengistu is a Consultant Nephrologist and an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine of Addis Ababa University (AAU), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yewondwossen did his undergraduate medical studies at the School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University graduating as an MD in 1984. He did his internal medicine residency training in the same school and completed a fellowship training in Nephrology at the University of Kwazulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, 1999-2000. He has served as the head of the renal Unit in the department of Internal Medicine of the School of Medicine, AAU and the Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa for nearly two decades. He has also served two terms as head of the department of Internal Medicine. Yewondwossen’s research interest is in the epidemiology of kidney diseases and other non-communicable diseases. He is a Past President of the Ethiopian Medical Association and serves in the Council of the African Association of Nephrology (AFRAN). Yewondwossen is a member of the Africa Board of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) as well as the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the ISN.

    Micheas Zemedkun, M.D.

    Dr. Zemedkun received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School. His residency in internal medicine form New York medical College, fellowship in cardiovascular medicine form MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He is board certified internist and cardiologist from American Board of Internal medicine, and currently practicing around the metropolitan Washington DC area.

    Wudneh M. Temesgen, MD

    Dr. Wudneh Temesgen is a surgeon who practices general surgery with a focus on minimally invasive surgery. He obtained his medical degree from Gondar College of Medical Sciences. He completed his general surgery residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and his fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery at Brown University. He is currently practicing general surgery in the Maryland and DC area.

    Demissie Alemayehu, PhD

    Demissie Alemayehu, PhD, is Vice President and Head of the Statistical Research & Data Science Center at Pfizer Inc, and holds a joint appointment with Columbia University, where he is also Director of Graduate Studies (MA) in the Statistics Department. Dr. Alemayehu obtained his first degree from Addis Ababa University, where he was the recipient of the 1980 Science Faculty Gold Medal. Subsequently, he earned a PhD degree in Statistics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the United States, Dr. Alemayehu has received numerous accolades, including election as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in recognition of his superlative achievements in original research, teaching and service to the profession. Dr Alemayehu is an active member of various professional societies and institutions, and serves on advisory boards in major universities, including Stevens Institute of Technology and RUSIS at Oregon State University. He has served as a reviewer for and on the editorial boards of major scientific journals. He has published extensively on statistical methodology and applications in medical research and has coauthored at least two monographs. Dr Alemayehu’s research interest spans diverse topics ranging from asymptotic theory in mathematical statistics to leveraging modern machine learning tools in drug development. More recently, Dr Alemayehu has been interested in exploring the potential of the digital revolution to influence decision making in such developing countries as Ethiopia, with emphasis on the advancement of good governance and protection of natural and cultural heritage.

    Anteneh Habte, MD

    Dr. Anteneh Habte is currently serving as Chairman of People to People’s (P2P) Board of Directors. He is the Medical Director of the Community Living Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV and clinical faculty at both the West Virginia School of Medicine and the Lewisburg School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Anteneh is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and a certified educator of palliative and end-of-life care (EPEC). He coordinates People to People (P2P)’s effort to promote the training of medical personnel and provision of clinical services in hospice and palliative care in Ethiopia. Dr. Anteneh is one of the editors of a series of web based modules in Hospice and Palliative Care for Ethiopia prepared under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Global HIV Initiative. He is also a contributor to P2P’s recently published ‘Triangular Partnership’ manuscript.

    Dawd S. Siraj, M.D., MPH&TM, FIDSA

    Dr. Dawd S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine, and an infectious disease physician at the University of Wisconsin. He received his medical degree from Jimma University in Ethiopia. He completed his internal medicine residency training at St. Barnabas Hospital Bronx, NY. He subsequently completed an Infectious Diseases fellowship and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, at Tulane University,in New Orleans, Louisiana.. He currently serves as the Vice President and Board Member of Ethio-American Doctors Group, Inc and People to People (P2P. He has actively participated in numerous Infectious Diseases and HIV activities in Ethiopia,

    Enawgaw Mehari, MD.

    Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Adjunct Professor in Clinical Neurolgy is a Neurologist at Kings Daughter Medical Center in Kentucky and founder of People to People USA (P2P). He founded P2P at the end of his residency training and has since expanded the services of P2P, including opening the People’s Free Clinic in Morehead, KY, in 2005 for the working poor who have no health insurance.

    Melaku Demede M.D., MHSc, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Melaku Demede graduated from AAU faculty of Medicine in 1995 and completed internship, residency and fellowship from SUNY Downstate Health Science Center Brooklyn, NY. Had done Post graduation from Victoria University of Manchester in MHSc Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Currently, He is Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of Cardiac Cath Lab in ARH Beckley, WV. Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine West Virginia University School of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine UK community Faculty, WVU DO School and Lincoln Memorial University School of Medicine. Board Certified in Intervention Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Internal Medicine, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.

    Kebede H. Begna, M.D., Msc.

    Dr. Kebede H. Begna an Associate Professor and consultant haematologist, practicing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He received his medical degree from Gondar University in Ethiopia. He finished internal medicine residency at St. Vincent Medical College, an affiliate of New York Medical College, where he was the Chief Resident. He completed hematology and medical oncology fellowship and obtained Masters in clinical research at the University of Minnesota, and later joined the Mayo Clinic, Division of Hematology in Rochester, Minnesota. He authored and co-authored many publications and book chapter. He currently serves on the board of Ethio-American Doctors Group, Inc.

    Fasika A. Woreta, M.D., M.P.H.

    Dr. Fasika A. Woreta is an assistant professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her medical degree, internship, and residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She performed a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery at the Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami and a cataract fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, UK. She is the director of the eye trauma center and program director of the ophthalmology residency program at Johns Hopkins. She specializes in corneal and external eye diseases, including cataracts, ocular trauma, and refractive surgery.

    Tinsay A. Woreta, M.D., M.P.H

    Dr. Tinsay A. Woreta is an assistant professor of medicine and a gastroenterologist/hepatologist at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.. She received her medical degree, internal medicine residency, and gastroenterology/transplant hepatology fellowship from Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in acute and chronic liver diseases, and has authored many publications and book chapters.

    Yonas E. Geda, M.D.

    Dr. Yonas E. Geda is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry. He is a Consultant in the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, and Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic. Following a formal search process, Dr. Geda was recently named Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for all the 5 colleges/ schools at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Geda earned his doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree from Addis Ababa (Haile Selassie) University, and subsequently pursued his trainings in Psychiatry, Behavioral Neurology, and a Master’s of Science (MSc) degree in biomedical sciences at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research examines the impact of lifestyle factors and neuropsychiatric symptoms on brain aging and mild cognitive impairment. He has published over 115 peer reviewed papers in major journals including in Neurology, JAMA Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry and American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Geda has several institutional, national and international leadership roles. He is a member of the Science Committee of the French Alzheimer’s research group (Groupe de Recherche sur la maladie d’Alzheimer; GRAL). He is the current chair of the award committee of the Neuropsychiatric syndromes professional interest area (PIA) of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). He is a recipient of many awards, including a medal from the City of Marseille, France in 2003, and from the City of La Ciotat, France in 2016 for his contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s research. As a resident, he won the prestigious Mayo Brother’s Distinguished Fellowship Award.

    Keith Martin, M.D

    Dr. Keith Martin is the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) based in Washington, DC. The Consortium is a rapidly growing organization of over 170 academic institutions from around the world. It harnesses the capabilities of these institutions across research, education, advocacy and service to address global challenges. It is particularly focused on improving health outcomes for the global poor and strengthening academic global health programs. Dr. Martin is the author of more than 150 editorial pieces published in Canada’s major newspapers and has appeared frequently as a political and social commentator on television and radio. He is currently a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute, editorial board member for the Annals of Global Health and an advisor for the International Cancer Expert Corps. He has contributed to the Lancet Commission on the Global Surgery Deficit, is a current commissioner on the Lancet-ISMMS Commission on Pollution, Health and Development and is a member of the Global Sepsis Alliance.

    If You Go:

    Saturday, October 19th, 2019
    Time: 7:30AM – 5:45PM
    Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City
    550 Army Navy Drive Arlington, VA 22202

    Registration Fees
    Physicians and professionals: $150(all day); $100 (half day)

    Allied Health Professionals, residents and fellows:
    $100(all day); $75(half day)
    Medical and allied health students: free (with ID)

    (Fee will also covers cost of food and refreshments)

    Click here to Register

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.–

    Medical Education and the Ethiopian Exodus of Talent — Inside Higher Ed

    This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week's post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity. (Photo: St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa/Facebook)

    Inside Higher Ed

    By Wondwosen Tamrat

    A 2012 study at Addis Ababa University showed that around 53 percent of medical students hoped to emigrate upon graduating, particularly to the United States and Europe.

    This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week’s post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity.

    On May 3rd 2019, the Prime Minister (PM) of Ethiopia held a meeting with 3 thousand health professionals from all over the country to discuss the state of health services and the challenges health workers are facing. Although the Prime Minister declared that the meeting was “key for policymaking” the health professionals appeared to be unsatisfied with the way he addressed their predicament. In spite of the concessions and the many promises made, a wave of strikes continued across the whole country.

    While the solution to this particular turmoil might be the immediate concern of the government, there is general recognition that the sector’s challenges extend far beyond the current standoff and need structural and systemic changes. The government vows to make additional efforts and changes with the involvement of relevant stakeholders at national and regional levels. One challenge that needs to be addressed is the migration of health professionals, especially physicians, a tendency that has seen little change over the years.

    Healthcare and medical education in Ethiopia

    At a global level Sub-Saharan Africa is known for the lowest density of healthcare workers. According to the World Health Organization, Ethiopia has a health workforce ratio of 0.7 against the recommended ratio of 2.3 per 1000 population that is considered to be imperative for health coverage and making meaningful health interventions. Ethiopia’s physician-to-population ratio of 1: 21,000 is also regarded as one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Since 1994 the government’s health development programs have had important impact on the sector’s growth. According to the Ministry of Health (2016) there has been a significant increase in health posts, health centers, hospitals and personnel including officers, nurses, midwives and health extension workers. The number of schools and colleges providing health education training has increased; the graduation output of public and private schools including higher education institutions has also grown more than 16-fold since 1999/2000. According to the Ministry of Education (2018) there are currently more than 80,000 undergraduate students who pursue studies in medicine and health sciences both in public and private higher education institutions.

    Despite the efforts towards improving the healthcare system that have produced quantitative gains, many challenges remain. The system is still deficient in infrastructure and resources, quality of education, internal quality assurance systems, performance assessment and retention, skill distribution, regional disparities that result in poor motivation to work in rural areas, little inclination to specialize in disciplines where there are skill shortages and more.

    In order to respond to these multi-faceted challenges, the Ministry of Health has devised several strategies including its popular “flood and retain initiative” designed to bring meaningful change to the number of available health workers at all levels. While some improvements have resulted through such interventions, it has not been possible to solve the various challenges of the sector in a fundamental way, including the migration of physicians who continue to leave the public sector and Ethiopia for greener pastures inside the country and elsewhere.

    Read more »

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    P2P Announces 2017 Ethiopian Health Care & Medical Education Conference

    (Photo: Courtesy of People to People -P2P)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 6th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S.-based non-profit organization for Ethiopian health care professionals in the Diaspora, People to People (P2P), announced that it will be hosting its 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference on September 23rd, 2017 at the Residence Inn, Pentagon City, just outside of Washington, D.C.

    “The central theme for this year will be ‘Cancer and Cancer Care,’ a topic you will agree, is gaining increasing importance in Ethiopia and beyond,” said Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of P2P in a statement.

    The conference will address the current status of cancer care in Ethiopia and participants will “brainstorm on ways to support clinical care, education and research in this field,” Dr. Enawgaw shared in his letter. “To this end, we have assembled an impressive roster of speakers with wide experience in academia, and building and supporting fellowship programs in Hematology and Oncology.”

    Dr. Enawgaw added: “P2P has been promoting the concept of triangular partnership since its inception in 2009. This model recognizes the pivotal role Diaspora Health Professionals can play in fostering partnerships between US and Ethiopian institutions of higher learning. The conference this September will provide further opportunity to network and meet Ethiopian and US institutions of higher learning who share the same mission and vision.”

    If You Go:
    P2P 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference
    September 23rd 2017
    The Residence Inn, Pentagon City
    Arlington, Virginia

    Watch: 2015 People to People (P2P) Conference Award Ceremony

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    A Bone Marrow Drive Underway at Ethiopian Soccer Tournament

    (Photo: ESFNA Instagram)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 5th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — A timely bone marrow donor drive is being hosted by the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) at this year’s annual Ethiopian soccer tournament and cultural festival that’s taking place this week in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington.

    ESFNA announced that the bone marrow registry will be held in the vendor area of the tournament and festival in coordination with Be The Match organization, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

    “Our hope is to offer a cure for the thousands of people diagnosed with life-threatening cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma each year,” ESFNA said. “Many of these people are of Ethiopian descent.”

    Last month we featured Elsa, an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children, who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant, and who has not yet found a match in the current International Registry of 29 million individuals.

    “We encourage all interested parties to please visit the Bone Marrow Registry at Renton Memorial Stadium,” ESFNA added. “Through your donations, lives can be saved.”

    Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

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    Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

    Because Elsa Nega is an Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the international registry is slim and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to help save her life by joining the registry at

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 21st, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Elsa (Elizabeth) Nega is an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant. Her family is searching worldwide to find a match for Elsa. “Her brother and sister in Ethiopia were her best hope but are not matches,” states a recent press release. “Of the 29 million people in the International Registry, no matches have been found.”

    According to her family Elsa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia after she suddenly fell ill earlier this year. A statement from the family said she walked into her local ER on February 8 and was rushed into an intensive care unit. The following day she was diagnosed with the acute form of leukemia (or cancer of the white blood cells). “She started on chemo immediately,” the statement said. “Unlike 90% of patients who go into remission after the first round of chemo, Elsa did not. Now, after 3 rounds of chemo, a bone marrow transplant is her only hope of recovery.”

    Elsa Nega. (Courtesy photo)

    Because Elsa is Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the registry are slim, and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to join the registry to help save Elsa and so many others like her. “Specifically, there is a great need for young adults, ages 18-35, of African descent. The younger a person is, the healthier their marrow is, which means more possible matches for patients like Elsa.”

    You can learn more and join the match registry as potential marrow donors at

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Tedros Adhanom Elected Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General-Elect (center), with Dr Veronika Skvortsova, President of the 70th World Health Assembly (left), and Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. (UN photo)

    The Associated Press

    Published: May 23rd, 2017

    GENEVA — Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister of health, was elected as the next director-general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, becoming the first non-medical doctor and the first African tapped to lead the U.N. health agency.

    Delegates, health ministers and other high-level envoys chose Tedros over Britain’s Dr. David Nabarro, a U.N. veteran, in the third and final round of voting. Tedros had 133 votes to Nabarro’s 50, with two abstentions.

    The third candidate, Pakistan’s Dr. Sania Nishtar, was eliminated in the first round.

    Ethiopian delegates could be seen hugging and high-fiving each other after their countryman made it to the second round. Tedro succeeds China’s Dr. Margaret Chan, who is ending a 10-year tenure at the U.N. health agency on June 30.

    The director-general of WHO wields considerable power in setting medical priorities that affect billions of people and declaring when crises like disease outbreaks evolve into global emergencies.

    The agency has stumbled in recent years, most notably in its error-prone response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and all three candidates vowed to overhaul its organization to restore credibility.

    Of the U.N. health agency’s 194 member states, 185 were eligible to cast ballots; nine others either were in arrears on their dues or not represented at the gathering.

    Jean-Marie Ehouzou, the African Union’s top envoy in Geneva, expressed “happiness, happiness, happiness” at the result.

    “It’s not only a question of symbolism,” he said, referring to Tedros’ status as the first African to run WHO. “It shows when we are united, we can do everything.”

    Read more »

    News Release

    United Nations

    Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom elected to top UN health post

    GENEVA – The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the United Nations health agency, today elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    “Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017,” WHO said in a statement following the afternoon vote.

    Among his previous positions, Dr. Tedros was Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and, prior, Minister of Health.

    He also served as Chair of the Global Fund and of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board (RBM), where he secured “record funding” for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America, according to the UN agency.

    The incoming health chief was chosen from amongst three nominees presented to the World Health Assembly, along with David Nabarro from the UK, and Sania Nishtar from Pakistan, in a process that began before September 2016.

    Dr. Tedros will succeed Margaret Chan, who yesterday addressed the World Health Assembly for the final time after serving two consecutive five-year terms.

    Ethiopian wins race to be next leader of UN health agency (The Associated Press)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    George W. Bush: PEPFAR Saves Millions of Lives in Africa. Keep it Fully Funded.

    Former president George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana. (Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    By George W. Bush

    George W. Bush served as 43rd president of the United States and founded the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.

    Last week in Gaborone, Botswana, Laura and I sat in a small room in Tlokweng Main Clinic, a facility that recently started screening and treating women for cervical cancer. Seated with us was Leithailwe Wale, a 40-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the disease. Thanks to early detection and access to treatment, she told us, today she is alive, healthy and able to raise her son.

    Good news like Leithailwe’s is becoming increasingly common in five African countries where Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is operating. Since leaving the White House, Laura and I have been heartbroken to learn that because women with HIV are more likely to have cervical cancer, people who had been saved from AIDS were needlessly dying from another treatable, preventable disease. So at the Bush Institute, we formed this global public-private partnership to fight women’s cancers.

    In the past six years, more than 370,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer and 24,000 for breast cancer through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. More than 119,000 girls have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical and other cancers. Nearly 1,000 health workers have been trained. With the proper resources and international commitment, we could end cervical cancer deaths on the continent in 30 years.

    Critical to this effort is our Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa…As the executive and legislative branches review the federal budget, they will have vigorous debates about how best to spend taxpayers’ money — and they should. Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn’t spend money overseas. I argue that we shouldn’t spend money on programs that don’t work, whether at home or abroad. But they should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented. Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.

    Read the full article at The Washington Post »

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    2016 P2P Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare & Medical Education Conference

    P2P honors founders of Ethiopia's Project Mercy Woizero Marta Wolde-Tsadik & Ato Demeke Tekle-Wold (Center) in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, September 26th, 2015. (Photograph by Tsedey Aragie for Tadias)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

    New York (TADIAS) — The 2016 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health care and Medical Education will be held on September 17th in Springfield, Virginia.

    The annual conference, which celebrates its eighth anniversary this year, is organized by People to people (P2P), Inc., a U.S.-based NGO established in 1999 in the state of Kentucky as a non-profit organization to serve as network of Ethiopian health care professionals practicing abroad.

    P2P announced topics scheduled to be discussed at the upcoming gathering include “Promoting Neuroscience in Ethiopia; The Global movement to scale up mental health care: The case of Ethiopia; Diaspora Partnership Projects; as well as Abstract and Poster Presentations on Health Related Topics relevant to Ethiopia.”

    The 2016 Scientific Conference Chair is Professor Yonas E. Geda of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

    If You Go:
    DATE & TIME:
    Saturday, September 17th, 2016
    7:30 AM to 4:00 PM
    Location: Hilton Springfield
    6550 Loisdale Road,
    Springfield, Virginia 22150

    P2P Survey Studies Use of Complementary Medicine Among Ethiopians in U.S.

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    P2P Survey Studies Use of Complementary Medicine Among Ethiopians in U.S.

    Traditional and herbal medicine from Ethiopia. (Photo: World Health Organization)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

    New York (TADIAS) — A new online survey recently launched by an association of Ethiopian doctors based in the United States aims to study the use of supplemental traditional medicine among the Ethiopian Diaspora population in North America.

    The survey, which is managed by complementary medicine experts from People to People (P2P) — an Ethiopian Diaspora Health Care Organization — will look at the “use of herbals, supplements and other traditional modalities by the Ethiopian Diaspora in the USA,” the announcement said, hoping to investigate any interactions between traditional and modern prescribed medications.

    “It is our hope that the results of the study will provide a clearer picture of the practice, and help clinicians and other healthcare professionals consider this aspect of medication history when they provide care to their patients,” P2P added. “As part of the Ethiopian Diaspora community we invite you to participate in this study.”

    The Ethiopian American physicians’ group said that it anticipates compiling and analyzing the data, and making it available to the public in less than a year. They emphasized that “no personally identifiable information will be stored or shared,” and that the privacy of participants will be protected.

    To learn more and take the survey click here » Complementary Medicine by the Ethiopian Diaspora in the USA

    Herbal medicine and medicinal plants in Fiche, Ethiopia (Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedcine)
    Shiro, The Sure Thing: Why It’s Good For You By Dr. Asqual Getaneh (TADIAS)
    Our Beef with Kitfo: Are Ethiopians in America Subscribing to the Super Sizing of Food? (TADIAS)
    Gomen for Breakfast? By Nesanet T. Abegaze (TADIAS)
    Video: 2015 P2P Ethiopian Health Care Conference & Award Ceremony

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    Psychiatrist Welansa Asrat Reflects on the High Cost of Untreated ADHD

    The author of the following article, Dr. Welansa Asrat, is an adult psychiatrist in private practice at WPsychiatry in New York City. Her areas of interest are ADHD and mood disorders. (Image via CTT)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Welansa Asrat, M.D.

    Published: Saturday, October 10th, 2015

    New York — This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week and this year’s theme is stigma. The Stigma-Free initiative encourages us to educate others about mental illness, to see the person and not the diagnosis, and to take action on mental health. Despite all the initiatives to reduce stigma, it continues to discourage and shame many from getting help.

    October also happens to be ADHD Awareness Month. Although plenty of adults struggle with symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has a prevalence rate of 5% or higher, its impact is often not appreciated until it is too late.

    The following are the most common symptoms seen in Adults with ADHD: Difficulty concentrating; Chronic forgetfulness; Poor organizational skills; Chronic boredom; Relationship problems; Employment problems; and Depression/Anxiety.

    There are 3 types of ADHD: the inattentive type, the hyperactive-impulsive type and the combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive type. One reason why women are often not diagnosed until adulthood is because women tend to have the inattentive type, which is harder to detect without the obvious signs of hyperactivity.

    The majority of ADHD patients that I see in my practice were diagnosed as adults. They managed to make it into adulthood without any professional help by finding creative ways to compensate for their ADHD symptoms. They were forced to address their symptoms in graduate school or as professionals, when their poor organizational skills and inability to complete simple tasks caused academic, occupational or interpersonal difficulties.

    Adults with ADHD are labeled as ‘lazy,’ even though they tend to be highly creative and gifted people. Their lack of productivity and their impulsive behaviors often damage their relationships and self-esteem, which can negatively impact the overall trajectory of their lives. They also have higher rates of automobile accidents and emergency room visits, as well as a greater risk of substance abuse.

    By the time an adult makes an appointment to see a mental health practitioner, he/she is often on the verge of losing a scholarship, a relationship or a job. Both the behavioral modifications and the medications provide some relief, including increased productivity. Though the medications can improve concentration and diminish impulsive behaviors, they have a number of potential side-effects including jitteriness, increased anxiety and decreased appetite.

    On this Mental Illness Awareness Week and ADHD Awareness Month, let’s all take the pledge to educate, see the person and not the illness, and take action.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    University of Michigan Surgeons Lead First-Ever Kidney Transplants in Ethiopia

    University of Michigan surgeons lead a team of doctors in performing the first successful kidney transplants in Ethiopia. (Courtesy of U-M)


    By Jeremy Allen

    It took more than two years for a group of University of Michigan surgeons to establish a transplant center in Ethiopia, and their work culminated in a historic event last week.

    U-M transplant surgeon Jeffrey Punch lead his team to the successful completion of three kidney transplants from living donors between Sept. 22 and 24. The Michigan team performed the surgeries with assistance from four Ethiopian fellowship surgeons at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    “We’ve been working for more than two years to establish the kidney transplants program in Ethiopia, and the team is so proud to be a part of this historic milestone for the country,” Punch, a professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School, said in a news release.

    “The real winners are the patients with kidney disease who up until now have had no treatment option other than very expensive dialysis that some just can’t afford.”

    The collaboration between U-M and St. Paul’s started through the initiative of Dr. Senait Fisseha, an adjunct professor in U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

    Fisseha was born in Ethiopia and first took Punch to Ethiopia to support the surgery residency training program. She also introduced Punch to the Minister of Health of Ethiopia who asked the two U-M doctors to help Ethiopia start a kidney transplant program.

    The Transplant Center facility at St. Paul’s is “an enviable a model for how to deliver transplant care,” Punch said, and it includes dedicated donor and recipient operating rooms that are adjacent to each other to facilitate transfer of the donor kidney.

    “Everyone here is ecstatic. The feeling reminds me of when I was a medical student and watched U-M’s doctors do the first liver transplant at U-M in 1985,” he said.

    “The surgeons and internists in Ethiopia are first rate, and St. Paul’s management is going about everything in the right way, upgrading anesthesia, laboratory, pathology, nursing, pharmacy and radiology services to make sure patients do well in the long run.”

    Read more at »

    U-M Names Ethiopian Doctor Lia Tadesse Head of Center for International Reproductive Health
    University of Michigan becomes a key partner in Ethiopia’s medical revolution
    $25 M grant backs U-M project to curb maternal deaths in Ethiopia, other developing nations

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    Ethiopia: Obama’s Call to End FGM

    While some Ethiopians praise the US president’s speech in Addis Ababa, other activists are concerned his message did not reach the people who needed to hear it the country's remote villages. (Photo: David Smith)

    The Guardian

    By David Smith

    Last updated on Sunday 2 August 2015

    Awash, Ethiopia – When she was a girl, Sadiya Aliye’s genitals were cut, as she was told tradition dictated. So when she became a mother to four daughters, she put all of them through the same agonising ritual.

    But attitudes, and law enforcement, are changing in Ethiopia. Aliye was arrested all four times, spent two months in jail and paid $50 fines. “I was very angry,” she recalls. “They beat me.” Her husband, the midwife and those who held down the girls were also punished.

    Efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) received a further boost last weekend when Barack Obama told an audience in Kenya: “There’s no excuse for sexual assault or domestic violence, there’s no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation, there’s no place in a civilised society for the early or forced marriage of children. These traditions may go back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century.”

    He reiterated the message in Addis Ababa to an effusive audience. But 235km away in the remote and arid Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia, where a decade ago nine in 10 girls suffered FGM, Aliye was only vaguely aware of the US president’s visit. In her modest mud brick home in the dusty village of Awash, where horses and carts are still commonplace, she lacked TV or radio to hear his plea.

    Explaining through an interpreter why she subjected her daughters to FGM, Aliye, who gave her age as about 50, said of the Muslim community: “They said it was ‘haram’ [forbidden by religion] for a woman to be uncircumcised and would spoil her prayer. This is what they told us and this is why we did it.”

    Told that Obama had condemned the practice, Aliye replied carefully: “He speaks well. I think he will change minds.”

    Aliye’s daughter, 18-year-old Leila Kedir, believes that her mother still endorses the practice, but few here now dare say so publicly for fear of prosecution. Kedir, who was nine when she underwent FGM, blames it for the pain she suffered giving birth to her son Tewekel, now three, and two-year-old daughter Kalid. She said: “It should be stopped because it causes fights between husbands and wives and is destructive to marriage. It’s good that Obama condemned it.”

    A government survey in 2000 found that 98.6% of women in the Afar region had been circumcised, usually by a midwife using a razor blade, the second highest rate in the country. By 2005 the figure had dipped only slightly to 91.6%. Within the clan-dominated social structures, it was believed that FGM was a religious requirement, that girls would be promiscuous and adulterous if not cut or that the clitoris would grow longer to resemble a man, who must not then sleep with another man.

    But in 2007 the UN launched an anti-FGM programme with the support of the Ethiopian government, civil society organisations and educational bodies. By 2013, their studies found, FGM in Afar had dropped to to 39%. More than nine in 10 questionnaire respondents said it should be abandoned.

    Read more at The Guardian »

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    7th Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education

    (Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    New York (TADIAS) — People to People Inc. (P2P) and the Network of Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare Professionals has announced that the 7th annual Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education will be held on September 26th, 2015 in Washington, DC Metro Area.

    Key topics that will be highlighted at the upcoming conference include “disaster management and response with special focus on the Ebola epidemic, injury and trauma in the Ethiopian setting, new licensure exam and requirements for medical school graduates and physicians in Ethiopia, diaspora partnership projects as well as abstract and poster presentations on health related topics relevant to Ethiopia,” P2P said in a statement.

    If You Go:
    DATE & TIME:
    Saturday September 26
    7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
    Location: Washington, DC Metro Area
    (Exact location to be announced later)
    More info and update at

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    Born HIV Free: Mothers Role in Ethiopia

    Regular antiretroviral treatment coupled with improved diagnosis is helping to reduce the number of babies being born with HIV in Ethiopia. (Photograph: At Modjo health clinic. Credit Gelise McCullough/Unitaid)

    Born HIV Free: Mothers of Wisdom in Ethiopia

    The Guardian

    By Carla Kweifio-Okai in Modjo

    Thursday 18 June 2015

    Modjo, Ethiopia — Abeba sits in the consultation room at Modjo health clinic in central Ethiopia, her seven-month-old daughter, Aster, cooing playfully on her lap.

    Abeba is HIV-positive, and has travelled 20 minutes by bus to collect the antiretroviral treatment she needs. She is part of a programme at the clinic to prevent mother-to-child transmission, which involves a regimen of medications for mothers and babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    Tests so far indicate that Aster has not contracted HIV, much to her mother’s relief. “Now I know my daughter doesn’t have it while I have it, I’m very happy,” says Abeba, who does not want her real name used. “It changes everything for me.”

    Despite global efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation, in Ethiopia only 24% of pregnant women who are eligible for HIV services receive them. One out of three children born to an HIV-positive mother is infected with the virus.

    Abeba has three other children at home, all sons, who are also HIV-negative. She says she feels blessed that her second youngest son did not contract the virus, since she did not receive treatment while pregnant with him. “I found out I had this four years ago, but I think my son, who is five years old, was born when I was positive but without me knowing,” she says.

    The eldest of Abeba’s sons is 12, and she says she will wait until he is 18 to tell him she has HIV. “I do not mind talking about it, but I want to protect my children. In the village they talk about it like it’s something very severe and something very bad to have,” she says. “But even though I don’t tell people I have it, I do tell them that we are all human beings and there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

    Next to the consultation room where Abeba makes her fortnightly visits, Sisay Dinku offers counselling to HIV-positive women. The 33-year-old learned she had HIV 10 years ago, and has worked at health clinics for the past nine. She says things have changed for people living with HIV in Ethiopia.

    Read more at The Guardian »

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    Engaging the African Diaspora Community in the U.S. Ebola Response

    Ambulance drives through the city of Monrovia, Liberia. (AP photo)

    Press Release

    U.S. Department of State

    The State Department’s Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response Andrew Weber recently spoke, via conference call, with members of the U.S.- African diaspora community to discuss progress in the international Ebola response and the transition to the next phase of U.S. efforts. The call was a fourth in a series of conference calls hosted by the Bureau of Public Affairs with African diaspora members about the international response to the Ebola crisis.

    Mr. Weber opened the call by highlighting important milestones that have been reached in our response to the epidemic. After approximately 10 months since the first U.S. personnel deployed to West Africa to fight Ebola, the vast majority of the U.S. troops assigned to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will return home by April 2015. Having completed their mission, only 100 will remain deployed in West Africa.

    While U.S. troops are coming home, Mr. Weber emphasized that the United States is not leaving West Africa. In keeping with President Obama’s charge that we tackle Ebola as a national security priority, the United States will continue to be a leader in the international response we helped to build to fight the disease at its source. More than 10,000 U.S.-supported civilian responders will remain on the ground in West Africa to fight the disease.

    The transition represents a shift from an emergency military response to a more conventional and sustainable civilian-led effort in concert with our African partners. Mr. Weber outlined the next phase in our Ebola response which will include sustained, targeted involvement as we work to achieve zero cases in West Africa, while building the capacity within the region to prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks before they become epidemics.

    Expressing their appreciation to the U.S. Government for its leadership in responding to the Ebola crisis and for its continued engagement of the community, diaspora representatives were eager to discuss how the community can continue to assist in this next phase of our Ebola response. Recognizing the current efforts of diaspora groups and the resources that they have devoted to help their communities of origin to end the crisis, Karen Richardson, a representative from the Bureau of Public Affairs who also joined the call, noted the critical role the diaspora has played since the outset of this crisis.

    While we have succeeded in controlling the exponential growth of the disease, getting to zero cases will require a sustained and targeted international response. Mr. Weber underscored that the fight is far from over and that we remain committed to achieving an Ebola-free West Africa.

    About the Author:
    David Duckenfield serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

    For more information on the ongoing U.S. response to the virus, please visit the State Department’s Ebola Response webpage.

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    Ebola-Hit Nations Aim for No New Cases

    A Liberian school teacher (L) takes the temperature of students arriving for morning lessons at school, as part of the Ebola prevention measures at the BW Harris High School in Monrovia, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP)

    VOA News

    The three West African countries hardest hit by Ebola have set a target of reducing new cases to zero within 60 days.

    Guinea’s presidency said in a statement Monday that the presidents of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia made the pledge after closed-door talks in Conakry.

    The Ebola virus has killed more than 9,000 people in those three countries. Its spread is slowing, but the World Health Organization warned of complacency after a recent uptick in cases.

    In its latest update Monday, the WHO reported 183 new cases in the region — 87 in Sierra Leone, 76 in Liberia and 20 in Guinea.

    In another development, thousands of Liberian children returned to school on Monday after a six-month school closure during the height of the Ebola epidemic.

    Students washed their hands and had their temperatures taken before entering schools. Some schools still remain closed.

    Rosemary Grey, a school principal in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, said it is important to reopen the schools even if there is still a danger from Ebola.

    “If we wait for the day that Ebola will be eradicated before we can reopen schools, I don’t think that we are ever going to open schools, because even now I heard there is a new outbreak,” she said. “Nobody knows how far it’s going to go. And if schools are going to close perpetually, students are going to remain at home.”

    The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Health officials have warned people to avoid all direct contact with Ebola patients, including those killed by the disease, who remain contagious.

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    Post-Ebola Plan Needed to Avert “Double Disaster” in West Africa

    Ebola testing at the African Cup of Nations football tournament in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. (Getty Images)

    By Magdalena Mis

    January 27, 2015

    LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The three West African countries worst hit by Ebola risk a “double disaster” unless a multi-million dollar plan is put in place to help their economies recover, Oxfam said on Tuesday.

    In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone people were struggling to make ends meet having seen their incomes plummet, the aid agency said.

    “The world was late in waking up to the Ebola crisis, there can be no excuses for not helping to put these economies and lives back together,” Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, said during a visit to Liberia.

    He said a post-Ebola “Marshall Plan” should address three areas of urgent need: cash for families affected by the crisis, investment in jobs and support for basic services.

    “People need cash in their hands now, they need good jobs to feed their families in the near future and decent health, education and other essential services,” Goldring said.

    Research by Oxfam in three Liberian counties found that three in four families had seen their incomes decline, with an average income drop of 39%.

    Coupled with a loss of income, food prices in Ebola-affected areas have risen. In Liberia, rice prices were 40% above the seasonal average.

    As a result, some adults said they were cutting back on food in order to feed their children. Oxfam said that 60% of people interviewed told them they had not had enough food in the past seven days.

    Liberia and Sierra Leone were two of the fastest growing economies in Africa before the Ebola crisis, but in both countries more than half of the population lived below the poverty line.

    According to World Bank, since the outbreak of the disease nearly 180,000 people have lost their jobs in Sierra Leone, and half of household heads in Liberia were out of work.

    “Failure to help these countries after surviving Ebola will condemn them to a double-disaster,” Goldring said.

    The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 8,600 lives since it was detected in Guinea in March, the World Health Organisation said last week. It said West Africa’s outbreak is ebbing.

    In the countries directly affected, the virus will result in at least $1.6 billion in lost economic growth this year or over 12% of their combined GDPs, according to the World Bank.

    Oxfam called for an international pledging conference to discuss recovery plans backed by financial support to help rebuild lives and help crisis-affected economies recover.

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    Ambassador Samantha Power Updates African Diaspora On Ebola Crisis Response

    Man offloads relief supplies for Ebola response in West Africa. (AP photo)


    U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs

    The State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs recently hosted a conference call with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and representatives of African diaspora communities from across the United States to discuss the international response to the Ebola crisis. Officials from USAID, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) joined the call, the third in a series hosted by the Bureau of Public Affairs with the African diaspora community. These calls have provided an opportunity for the U.S. government to coordinate effectively with diaspora communities across the United States to combat this epidemic and to connect individuals seeking to volunteer in various capacities with the NGOs working directly in the Ebola-affected communities in West Africa.

    In October 2014, Ambassador Power traveled to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to demonstrate U.S. support for these nations, review the response effort and emphasize the need for increased support for the international response. Ambassador Power stressed that, despite the gains seen in Liberia, Ebola remains a major threat and she also warned of the risk of complacency. She also noted that in Sierra Leone, the disease continues to spread at a rapid pace. Some 18,000 people have been reported infected in West Africa and 7,000 people have died. And the economic and social toll of the disease is staggering. The outbreak has caused profound suffering and long-lasting effects on the lives of the people of West Africa.

    Ambassador Power reinforced that the U.S. government understands what it takes to end the epidemic, and that it is a matter of “mobilizing resources and will.” The U.S. response has been the largest to any global health crisis in history. Currently, there are 3,000 U.S. government personnel in the region working to curb the spread of the epidemic. Even with this robust response, the United States alone cannot curb the epidemic’s deadly spread. Other countries have joined the response effort as well, including the United Kingdom which has committed somet 230 million pounds to tackle Ebola.

    Diaspora representatives, grateful for the opportunity to share their views, were eager to ask questions on how their community can assist with responding to the needs of those in affected countries. Thanking the Obama Administration for its response to the crisis, one diaspora representative originally from Sierra Leone asked Ambassador Power to identify how the diaspora can be engaged in Sierra Leone. Prefacing her response to the caller with “we need you,” Ambassador Power underscored the vital role the diaspora can play in education, social motivation and galvanizing the diaspora community to help those in Sierra Leone where behavioral change is slower than in Liberia.

    Ambassador Power emphasized that the diaspora have a critical role to play in carrying messages back to relatives in West Africa and helping with the response. With their sophistication, will, and capabilities, they are uniquely positioned to helping conquer the fears and stigma that the epidemic has generated. Ambassador Power ended the call by urging the diaspora community to continue to put their skills to work in ending this outbreak and to know that they have the support of the U.S. government as they work to eradicate this deadly disease.

    About the Author:
    David Duckenfield serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

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    Tigray Region of Ethiopia Focuses on Reducing Trachoma in 2015

    Dr. Amir Bedri Kello, senior consultant for Light For The World, conducts a presentation at the Light For The World country office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (VOA)

    VOA News

    By Kim Lewis

    January 15, 2015 7:51 AM

    The federation of NGOs known as Light for the World is committed to stopping the transmission of the eye disease trachoma in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. The federation’s strategy includes mapping the mountainous region, and teaching people how to apply the SAFE strategy — Surgery; Antibiotics; Facial cleanliness and Environmental change.

    The organization says it has carried out mapping in Ethiopia’s Tigray and Somali regions to collect and analyze data that will help them treat the 4.5 million people who live in places where trachoma is endemic.

    Dr. Amir Bedri Kello, senior consultant for Light for the World, explained that mapping is important in determining the prevalence of trachoma, which in turn allows the SAFE strategy to be applied more effectively.

    “Tigray region is one of the regions that has very high endemicity for trachoma. Almost 4.4 million people in Tigray live in trachoma endemic areas. From the region itself we have a backlog of over 30,000 trachoma– trichiasis cases—this is the late complication of trachoma whereby you have inverted lashes that touch the cornea. It is a painful condition that will eventually lead to blindness unless it is treated by surgical intervention,” explained Dr. Bedri.

    The biggest focus for 2015 is on districts with the highest rates of trachoma and trichiasis.

    “When you have very high trachoma infection rates which are 30% and above, this would require five years of intervention with full WHO recommended SAFE strategy. That would mean for 2015 that we would be doing surgery for delayed complications of trachoma, over 3,500 trachoma surgeries for next year, (2015), and also implementing activities that would promote hygiene and sanitation,” Dr. Bedri pointed out.

    He also emphasized that the biggest challenge of these activities will be behavioral changes towards personal hygiene and sanitation. He said the medical aspect of treating trachoma is readily accepted. However the doctor said when it comes to teaching the importance of personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, efforts are more challenging.

    “It requires a lot of extensive health education, provisional hardware, meaning construction of latrines, water points, but also having to convince the population to change their behavior to better sanitation and hygiene,” said Bedri.

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    US Updates African Diaspora on Ebola Response

    Medical supplies from the U.S. delivered in Monrovia, Liberia to assist in the fight against Ebola. (AP Photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update


    Press Release: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs

    Last month, the State Department’s Bureaus of Public Affairs and African Affairs, in coordination with interagency colleagues, hosted a conference call with Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and approximately 200 representatives of the African diaspora community from across the United States. Together with officials from USAID, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, provided an update on the ongoing response to the crisis.

    In December 2014, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield was part of a U.S. delegation to Liberia, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Lumpkin, to assess the current state of Liberia’s fight against Ebola and U.S. response efforts on the ground. On this call, she reviewed her trip and commended the efforts of U.S. Embassy personnel in Monrovia, who are working around the clock, to support the anti-Ebola effort. She also stressed that the U.S. Government response to Ebola has been a “whole of government” effort.

    In response to questions from call participants, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield noted that, after several very difficult months, Liberia has made significant gains in the fight against Ebola. She also added that more work remains to be done until Liberia is Ebola-free. To that end, she urged Liberians not to change the practices that have been put in place to ensure the eradication of this disease.

    The Assistant Secretary also remarked that Ebola is a “regional problem,” not a Liberian problem, and one that requires tremendous teamwork and international coordination. In that regard, she described the collaborative efforts of the U.S. embassy, USAID, the CDC, the African Union and Liberians as nothing short of “impressive.”

    Thomas-Greenfield remains engaged in coordination efforts with other U.S. Government agencies and colleagues in the international community around the recovery program in the region, the state of the health sector, and the conditions for improvement in education and infrastructure.

    The U.S. Government continues to stand with Liberia, and knows that this is a situation that they cannot fight alone. Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries need the support of the international community and we are committed to providing that support. President Obama made that very clear when he said that this is a national security crisis, not only for the region, but for the world.

    For more information on the ongoing U.S. response to the virus, please visit the State Department page here.

    About the Author:
    David Duckenfield serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

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    Army of Women Educates on Trachoma in Ethiopia

    Mebrit Kasua and one of her children at her home in the Tigray Province of northern Ethiopia. Mebrit is a leader in the health development army of women in the Tigray province of northern Ethiopia. (VOA)

    VOA News

    By Kim Lewis

    January 06, 2015 6:10 AM

    An army of women” in Ethiopia has been recruited to teach friends and neighbors how to prevent trachoma, an eye disease that’s preventable but still very common in many parts of Ethiopia. The confederation of national development NGO’s — Light For The World – has been working to implement national eye health initiatives to prevent trachoma and other eye diseases through the World Health Organization’s initiative “VISION 2020—the right to sight”.

    One major step in preventing trachoma is to educate local communities on the causes and prevention of trachoma.

    Light For the World and its partners train at the local level, through such initiatives as Ethiopia’s “Army of Women.” Mebrit Kasua is a 20-year-old wife, mother of two small children and a leader of the Health Development Army in her community, “an army of women” fighting diseases with medicine and knowledge.

    A Light for the World program officer who helps train the “Army of Women, Kalikidan Ketsela, translated Mebrit’s description of the day’s work in the Tigray region, as a member of the family and a soldier in the Health Development Army.

    “After she wakes up, she directly goes to the cleaning of the latrine, the compound, and the house and the materials. After that she goes with her husband to the field for plowing, for weeding, and for whatever activities. After that she returns back to home…preparing coffee,” explained Ketsela.

    Even after these morning activities, the day is still young for Mebrit. Ketsela added that in addition to preparing meals for the day, Mebrit is a role model for her family and community.

    “Above all, she has a social role. She’s the head of the Women Development Army, so whenever she gets a chance she goes to the people and sees that if there is a pregnant mother, if there is a sick mother, she counsels them and advises them to go to the health posts,” highlighted Ketsela.

    She also pointed out that Mebrit wants to make sure the other mothers understand the importance of keeping the family’s hands and faces clean, as well as the home environment.

    “First, she says that I will focus on the cleaning of the compound and face washing. I will tell them that you have to wash your faces because trachoma comes through flies and if there is a dirty face it will be a good place for trachoma transmission. So, I just tell them to wash their faces and to construct latrines and to use latrines. So this is like the key message for the discussion,” said Ketsela interpreting for Mebrit.

    It is a big responsibility to head the Women’s Development Army for her community, but Mebrit takes her job seriously because she knows she is looked upon as an example.

    “I am the key leader for the 13 householders and I am one of the examples for the other group members and when we have meetings, I just share my experience to the group members and invite them to see what I am doing, and to learn by seeing what I am doing,” Mebrit explained through Ketsela.

    Light For The World and its partners work in Ethiopia and other developing countries where Trachoma is the primary cause of blindness. Light For The World emphasis that acting now to prevent trachoma will help them reach their goal of eradicating the disease worldwide by 2020.

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    From Chicago to Ethiopia: Dr. Gelila Goba Improving the State of Women’s Health

    Dr. Gelila Goba is a resident at Northwestern University and is the impetus for a group of physicians setting up an ob/gyn residency program at an Ethiopian hospital. (Chicago Tribune)

    Chicago Tribune

    By Bonnie Miller Rubin

    Dr. Gelila Goba hasn’t forgotten where she came from.

    Instead of joining a comfortable practice in the U.S. after completing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, Goba instead will be caring for patients in her native Ethiopia, where in many communities light and heat qualify as luxuries.

    After she graduates in May, Goba plans to move back to Ethiopia to implement a new initiative that she hopes will improve the state of women’s health in the desperately poor country of 90 million.

    “A lot has been given to me,” said Goba, during a break at Prentice Women’s Hospital. “I must make sure that I use those gifts wisely.”

    The Mela Project is a partnership between Northwestern and Mekelle University in Ethiopia. It provides medical education, clinical training and research in sub-Saharan Africa, where acute doctor shortages and women’s health continue to be vexing problems.

    In Ethiopia, the maternal mortality rate is twice the global average, and the rate of death from cervical cancer is almost seven times higher than in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. The entire country has about 220 OB-GYNs nationwide — roughly the same number as Northwestern Memorial Hospital alone, according to university officials.

    Read more at »

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    PM Hailemariam: African Nations Should be More Engaged in Ebola Fight

    British health workers lift a newly admitted Ebola patient onto a wheeled stretcher in to the Kerry town Ebola treatment center outside Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dec. 22, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)


    Addis Ababa – African nations need to be more engaged in the fight against the Ebola virus and stop relying on aid from Western governments, Ethiopia’s prime minister said Monday.

    Hailemariam Desalegn said the response to the epidemic in west Africa should not be “only for the non-Africans”, urging African states to respond to an African Union appeal to send medical staff to affected areas.

    “We should show that there is a solidarity within the African countries,” he told reporters.

    “Usually the notion is that whenever this kind of epidemic happens, it is the Western countries and other big countries that have to be involved,” he said.

    But he added: “We have to break this and show that Africans also are there for Africans. We should try our best to bring African solutions to African problems.”

    Last week Ethiopia sent 187 health volunteers to Sierra Leone and Liberia, the largest contingent of medical professionals from any African country since the Ebola crisis began. Desalegn said a further 1,000 volunteers were ready to go.

    A number of African states, however, are reluctant to send volunteers, due to either a lack of means or fears they are not equipped to deal with any who return infected with the virus.

    Read more »

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    Africans Give Back: How the U.S. African Diaspora is Fighting Ebola Back Home

    Africa Responds is an online Ebola response initiative launched by TMS Ruge, a U.S.-based entrepreneur from Uganda and Ethiopian-born Solome Lemma, Founder of the NYC-based NGO Africans in the Diaspora.

    The Deseret News National Edition

    By Kimberly Curtis

    The idea came to TMS Ruge one evening in September while at home in New York, skimming Twitter for stories on Ebola. A native of Uganda who grew up in East Africa and the U.S., Ruge was struck that much of the coverage depicted Africans only as victims. Little mention was made of their potential role in wiping out the deadly epidemic.

    As an entrepreneur and communications consultant, Ruge, 38, understands the power of ideas and information. He figured Americans needed to be made more aware that Africans were providing most of the frontline care. He was also determined to do something about it.

    He approached his friend Solome Lemma, an immigrant from Ethiopia who is executive director of Africans in the Diaspora, an organization based in New York that works to connect Africans living in the U.S. to development projects back home.

    Together they launched Africa Responds, an online fundraising initiative that partners with four African-led organizations working in Liberia. In less than two months, their campaign raised nearly $20,000 and significantly raised the profile through social media of African efforts against Ebola.

    Ruge and Lemma are among a new generation of the U.S. African diaspora determined to contribute to the development of their home continent, including the fight against Ebola.

    “We want to insert ourselves into the conversation because the Africans on the ground are the ones really doing the work, but it is the international organizations getting the credit,” said Ruge. “If people are too busy trying to stay alive, they don’t really have the ability to tell their stories. But if we are here to share those stories, it helps in the fight.”

    The U.S Census Bureau estimates that 1.5 million people born in Africa now live in the United States. Another 2 million self-identify with the diaspora because they have dual citizenship or grew up in Africa. Almost half of the diaspora has arrived since 2000, with Liberia and Sierra Leone — two of the countries at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis — making up 20 percent of these recent arrivals.

    Africa Responds and its partners have an advantage in fighting Ebola that most international aid agencies lack: Knowledge of local languages and culture goes a long way in educating people about the disease and convincing them to change daily habits.

    Above all, these groups enjoy Africans’ trust, gained through years of living and working in local communities, many of which are suspicious of outsiders and therefore often bypassed in international aid efforts.

    Read more »

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    Ethiopia Holds Farewell Gala for Volunteer Doctors Headed to Ebola-Hit Countries

    A farewell gala in Addis Ababa on December 15th, 2014 for the Ethiopian health care workers that are deployed in West Africa. (Photograph: Twitter)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – One hundred eighty-seven health professionals from Ethiopia will be arriving in Ebola-hit West African countries this week. According to Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Kesete Admasu, who made the announcement via Twitter on Monday, the Ethiopian volunteers will assist in the global efforts underway in the region. Dr. Kesete tweeted: “[Ethiopia] is now the largest volunteer contributor to the Ebola response in Africa.”

    The health care workers will be deployed in the three most-affected nations — Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

    Dr. Kesete stated: “The Ambassador of Liberia to Ethiopia on behalf of the 3 countries thanked the volunteers and the government of Ethiopia for the solidarity.”

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    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    White House Urges Congress to Approve $6.2 Billion Emergency Ebola Funding

    President Barack Obama speaks at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland about the fight against Ebola on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014. (Photograph: The Associated Press)

    VOA News

    By Aru Pande

    WHITE HOUSE— President Barack Obama is urging U.S. lawmakers, before they leave for the holiday recess in a few weeks, to pass $6.2 billion in emergency funding to fight the Ebola virus and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases.

    Speaking Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, Obama said money to battle the disease is running out and that Congress could give a Christmas present to the American people and the world by passing a spending bill.

    The president toured NIH laboratories and congratulated researchers on completion of phase 1 clinical trials of a potential vaccine to treat Ebola, which clears the way for it to go to clinical trials in West Africa. He called it “exciting news” that a potential vaccine produced no serious side effects during first-phase testing, noting that no other potential Ebola drug had progressed this far to date.

    However, Obama stressed that there was no guarantee the vaccine would work and that the fight was not close to being over, even if media attention had shifted to other issues. He noted the outbreak has gotten worse in countries like Sierra Leone, where infections and the death toll have risen in recent weeks.

    “Every hotspot is an ember that, if not contained, can become a new fire. So we cannot let down our guard even for a minute,” he said.

    “If we are going to actually solve it for ourselves, we have to solve it in West Africa as well,” he added.

    Contingency funds

    Most of Obama’s request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds — money that could become a target if lawmakers decided to trim the bill.

    “That is the part of the package that is most at risk,” said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an alliance of U.S. nongovernmental aid groups.

    While lawmakers recognize that the United States has to take action to arrest the deadly disease, some are wary of giving the administration leeway in investing money in public health systems in West Africa.

    “I think there is less understanding of the need to stay in it for the long run and to build the capacity of countries to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future,” Worthington said.

    In its overseas response, the United States has scaled up deployment of American personnel in West Africa — with 200 civilians and 3,000 service members on the ground.

    At the NIH, Obama said efforts to battle Ebola at its source are showing results, particularly in Liberia, where the U.S. has built three of 10 planned Ebola treatment units, and the number of beds for Ebola patients is expected to reach 2,000 by early next year.

    “We’ve ramped up the capacity to train hundreds of new health workers per week,” Obama said. “We have improved burial practices across Liberia. And as a consequence, we have seen some encouraging news — a decline in infection rates in Liberia.”

    Ebola has killed about 6,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with a handful of people in other countries.

    The Obama administration came under fire in September after a series of protocol missteps involving an Ebola patient who traveled to Dallas from Liberia and later died. Two nurses contracted the disease while caring for the man.

    The president also touted progress in the U.S. fight against the disease, saying the number of American hospitals prepared to deal with Ebola has increased from just three facilities to 35 nationwide in the last two months, and the number of laboratories testing for Ebola has increased from 13 to 42 since August.

    Screening and treatment procedures have since been tightened, and there are no current U.S. cases.

    “My hope is that we’re not getting Ebola fatigue setting in,” said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, a Christian missionary group that helps treat Ebola patients in Liberia. “There continues to be a huge need for this funding.”

    Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Tests Thousands for HIV in Record Attempt

    In this photo of Sunday Nov 30, 2014. Ethiopians lineup for an AIDS test, in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — More than 3,300 people were tested for HIV Sunday in the Ethiopian region of Gambella, a massive turnout that exceeded expectations among AIDS campaigners who had hoped to test 2,000 people, according to local officials.

    Rahel Gettu, an official with the U.N. Aids agency in Ethiopia, said they believe they broke the world record for the number of HIV tests carried out in one day. She said their claim was yet to be verified and confirmed by Guinness World Records.

    She said 3,383 people were tested for HIV within eight hours in a single event ahead of World Aids Day. Eighty-two of them received positive results.

    About 6.5 percent of Gambella residents have HIV or AIDS, a rate higher than the national average of 1.5 percent. Officials hope that voluntary AIDS testing in this region that borders South Sudan can lead to a reduction in the number of new infections.

    “It will help to bring together communities. It helps people to know their status in order to make informed choices about their lives forward,” said Seid Alemu, a director at Ethiopia’s Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, referring to voluntary testing for HIV.

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    Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Volunteers to Ebola-Hit Countries Within Two Weeks

    Ebola response roadmap prepared by the Word Health Organization, October 17th, 2014. (Credit: WHO)

    Xinhua/Shanghai Daily

    Nov 26,2014

    ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia on Tuesday announced that it will be deploying about 210 volunteers to Ebola-hit West African countries in two weeks.

    Responding to the call of the African Union (AU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the country’s commitment to the African solidarity, Ethiopia earlier pledged to provide support to the Ebola-affected West African countries by deploying health professionals, said Ahmed Imano, Director of Public Relations and Communication at the Ministry of Health.

    Ahmed said the East African country had also pledged to provide financial support amounting half a million U.S. dollars to support the intervention in addressing the epidemic.

    To implement the pledge, Ethiopia has recruited the 210 volunteers out of the 1,100 registered volunteers, according to the director, who was speaking to the press in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

    The volunteers would be deployed in the three most affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

    Read more »
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    New York Ebola Patient Leaves Hospital

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs Dr. Craig Spencer as he is discharged from Bellevue Hospital, after being stricken by Ebola, in New York Nov. 11, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    November 11, 2014

    A New York doctor who is the last known Ebola victim in the United States has been cured of the deadly disease and left a hospital on Tuesday.

    Officials at a New York hospital say that “after a rigorous course of treatment and testing,” 33-year-old Craig Spencer has been declared free of the Ebola virus. They said he “poses no public health risk.”

    Spencer, working for Doctors Without Borders, contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea and was hospitalized after returning to the U.S. last month. He was experiencing fever, nausea, pain and fatigue and the fact that he went bowling and traveled on New York’s vast subway system sparked fears that Ebola could spread in the country’s largest city. He has been in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital while undergoing treatment.

    As he left the hospital, he told a news conference that his recovery shows the need for early detection and treatment of the disease. Now, he says the focus ought to shift back to West Africa, the center of the Ebola outbreak, and pleaded for public support for foreign medical workers treating Ebola victims.

    “Please join me in turning our attention back to West Africa and ensuring that medical volunteers and other aid workers do not face stigma and threats upon their return home,” said Spencer. “Volunteers need to be supported to help fight this outbreak at its source.”

    In a separate Ebola scare in the U.S., the 21-day Ebola incubation period has ended for a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who treated patients in Sierra Leone, although she never tested positive for Ebola. She fought strict quarantine demands in two states, but eventually agreed to medical monitoring, which ended at midnight Monday.

    Only one Ebola patient has died in the United States, but underfunded health facilities in West Africa have been overwhelmed by the disease. Ebola has infected 13,000 people, killing nearly 5,000.

    Video: Retracing steps of N.Y. Ebola patient (CNN)

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    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund

    Of the West African countries hit by the 11-month outbreak, Liberia has seen the most deaths. (BBC)

    BBC News

    Top African business leaders have established an emergency fund to help countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

    A pledging meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised $28.5m to deploy at least 1,000 health workers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    Experts say that if the disease is to be speedily contained, it needs to be tackled in these three countries.

    Nearly 5,000 people out of about 14,000 cases have been killed by the virus, most of them in Liberia.

    Ebola deaths in West Africa Up to 4 November
    4,960 Deaths – probable, confirmed and suspected (Includes one death in US and one in Mali)
    2,766 Liberia
    1,130 Sierra Leone
    1,054 Guinea
    8 Nigeria
    Source: WHO

    Speaking at the end of the Addis Abada meeting, African Union chairman Dlamini Zuma said the resources mobilised would be part of a longer term programme to deal with such outbreaks in the future.

    Read more at BBC News »

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    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    Climate-Driven Migration Increasing Disease Burden in Ethiopia


    By Kagondu Njagi

    Gondar — When increasingly erratic weather ruined his crops of maize, wheat and barley in highland Maksegni, the middle-aged farmer migrated to Metemma, in northwest Ethiopia, to look for work in the lowland area’s commercial sesame and cotton plantations.

    There he picked up more than work. Today the 39-year-old is infected with visceral leismaniasis – a disease commonly called kalaazar – and with HIV.

    The father of two, who is being treated at the University of Gondar, is among an estimated 300,000 Ethiopians who migrate to the plantations near the Sudan border every year, looking for new sources of income as their farms struggle.

    But as they flee from hunger, they enter into sandfly territory, and bites by the insects spread kalaazar, a parasitic disease that is usually fatal if untreated. The loneliness of being away from family also leaves them vulnerable to HIV, researchers say.

    “It is a kalaazar endemic area,” explained Ermias Diro, a researcher at the university’s clinic. “A lot of people travel there to look for work and in the process they get bitten by the sandfly.”

    “After working throughout the day in the farmland they rest under a tree where there is shade,” he added. “It is a very hot place and they may not be dressed fully, so they get bitten.”


    Experts have linked more irregular rainfall and crop failures to a rise in migrant workers in Ethiopia. Meteorologists said Maksegnit, in the highlands, should record as much as 1,059 millimeters of rainfall during the peak season, but in the last few years rainfall has been as low as 317 millimeters.

    That has led to a decline in staple crop farming, while cash crop farming in the lowlands pulls the struggling poor from the highlands, and toward new health threats.

    Read more »

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    5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: World Health Organization

    Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (Tika) members deliver medical treatment and raise awareness of Ebola outbreak in Kolda, southern Senegal on October 24, 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    KAMPALA, Uganda — Authorities are having trouble figuring out how many more people are getting Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone and where the hot spots are in those countries, harming efforts to get control of the raging, deadly outbreak, the U.N.’s top Ebola official in West Africa said Tuesday.

    “The challenge is good information, because information helps tell us where the disease is, how it’s spreading and where we need to target our resources,” Anthony Banbury told The Associated Press by phone from the Ghanaian capital of Accra, where the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, is based.

    Health experts say the key to stopping Ebola is breaking the chain of transmission by tracing and isolating those who have had contact with Ebola patients or victims. Health care workers can’t do that if they don’t know where new cases are emerging.

    “And unfortunately, we don’t have good data from a lot of areas. We don’t know exactly what is happening,” said Banbury, the chief of UNMEER.

    Banbury, who visited the three most affected countries last week, said it was “heartbreaking” to see families torn apart by Ebola as they struggle to care for sick loves ones while also hoping to avoid infection. He said he is hoping for a new approach in Liberia as the U.N. and its partners work to improve the capacity of communities to safely bury victims.

    Over the past week, Banbury met with the presidents of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the vast majority of the more than 10,000 Ebola cases have occurred, the U.N. said.

    Meanwhile, the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said the three countries need at least 5,000 more health workers to effectively fight the epidemic.

    Kim said Tuesday that he is worried about where those health workers can be found given the widespread fear of Ebola. Quarantining health workers returning to their home countries — as some U.S. states are doing — could also hurt recruitment efforts. The World Bank president spoke alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU is headquartered.

    As more countries close their borders with or severely restrict travel from the affected countries, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pleaded Tuesday with the world to not turn its back on those suffering.

    “We’d just like the international community to continue to see this as a global threat, that stigmatization, exclusion, restriction is not the appropriate response to this,” she said.

    Read more »

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    Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    In Little Ethiopia, Palliative Care Means Dignity for Ethiopian American Elders

    Hayim Tovim Adult Day Health Care center located in the heart of the Little Ethiopia neighborhood along Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: NAM)

    New America Media

    By Julian Do, Posted: Oct 18, 2014

    LOS ANGELES–Until last spring, Tesfaldey Meshesha and his wife, who came to the United States from Ethiopia in 2008, used to be regulars at Hayim Tovim Adult Day Health Care center located in the heart of the Little Ethiopia along Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Here, they joined in aerobic dancing, socialized, lunched with friends and received medical check ups.

    But these days, Meshesha, 76, the former manager of Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory, one of Ethiopia’s largest of its kind, comes alone, as his wife has contracted bone cancer.

    “No matter what, my wife has to be taken care of by me at home. Transferring her to a nursing home would be unthinkable because I don’t think any nursing or hospital facilities here can provide our cultural ways of respect and dignity to the elders,” said Meshesha with tears in his eyes. He was polite but clearly didn’t want to talk about his wife’s illness further.

    Read more at »

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    Ebola Crisis: World Health Organization Signals Help for Africa to Stop Spread

    (Image: Ebola outbreaks, deaths in Africa, as of Oct. 10, 2014/VOA)

    BBC News

    The World Health Organization is to “ramp up” efforts to prevent Ebola spreading beyond the three countries most affected by the deadly virus.

    Fifteen African countries are being prioritised, top WHO official Isabelle Nuttall told a Geneva news conference.

    They will receive more help in areas including prevention and protection.

    But former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he is “bitterly disappointed” with the international community’s response.

    In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Mr Annan said richer countries should have moved faster.

    “If the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently.

    “In fact when you look at the evolution of the crisis, the international community really woke up when the disease got to America and Europe. And yet we should have known that in this interconnected world it was only a matter of time.”

    Read more at BBC News »

    Obama Authorizes National Guard Call-Up to Fight Ebola in West Africa

    President Barack Obama holds a meeting with federal agencies coordinating the government’s Ebola response, on Oct. 15, 2014. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Newseek Magazine

    By Lucy Westcott

    Updated: 10/16/14

    President Barack Obama authorized a call-up of the National Guard and additional military reservists to active duty on Thursday in case they are needed to address the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

    Obama signed an executive order and also notified congressional officials, The Associated Press reported.

    In a letter to Rep. John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, Obama said he is authorizing the secretary of defense and the secretary of homeland security to call up reservists to “augment the active forces in support of Operation United Assistance.”

    Read more at »

    West African Teen Taunted With Chants of ‘Ebola’ at High School Soccer Game

    Ibrahim Toumkara claims that his rivals from another Pennsylvania high school started teasing him about the virus, simply because he is from West Africa. (Photo: WPVI)

    The Root


    One Pennsylvania teen, who is originally from Guinea, recently had to endure his high school rival’s soccer team chanting “Ebola” at him during a match, WPVI reports.

    According to the station, Ibrahim Toumkara, a Nazareth Area High School student and soccer player, got into a fight last week after he heard players from rival Northampton High School taunting him about the deadly virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people across West Africa, including in his home country.

    “Being from western Africa and having family in that area, he didn’t take too kindly to those remarks and went after one of the players on the Northampton team,” the boy’s coach, Edward Bachert, explained. Bachert is also Ibrahim’s legal guardian, as well as a police chief for Lehigh County.

    The 16-year-old moved away from Guinea three years ago, the station notes.

    “There were tears coming down his eyes. He was visibly shaken by this, that it got to that level on the field,” Bachert added.

    After the tasteless incident, both Northampton’s head soccer coach and its assistant coach resigned. Some of the student athletes are also expected to face disciplinary action, according to the station.

    Read more at The »

    Video: Did Ebola really cause the stock market drop? (MSNBC)

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    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

    (Image credit:

    Sudan Tribune

    By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

    ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health on Sunday disclosed establishing a modern laboratory centre in a bid to scale up the nation wide efforts to prevent entry of the deadly Ebola virus.

    The modern laboratory which is known as Bio safety level 3 and 4 will start operating on Monday for screening and tasting purpose with the help of Ethiopian professionals who received training abroad.

    According to Health Minister Dr. kesetebirhan Admasu, the country has introduced a new screening machine, called Thermo Scan Thermo Meter, which has a capacity of testing 1,000 individuals per hour.

    As well as the new screening machine, other two thermo screening machines are currently operating at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport to test passengers particularly those coming from West African countries.

    Read more at Sudan Tribune »

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    $25 M Grant Backs University of Michigan Health Project in Ethiopia, Other Nations

    Dr. Senait Fisseha at St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa. (Photo: UM)

    University of Michigan

    Press Release

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor, the University of Michigan will begin training doctors in Africa in reproductive health services not widely available to many women living in remote areas of the continent.

    The grant will allow faculty at the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to create a center for reproductive health training in order to increase the number of health professionals equipped to provide life-saving reproductive health care, especially to women whose families are poor.

    “Every day, women across the globe are dying and suffering from poor health outcomes because they don’t have access to high quality, comprehensive reproductive health care,” says Senait Fisseha, M.D., J.D., the center’s director. Fisseha, who was born in Ethiopia, is a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at the U-M Health System.

    “We are overwhelmingly grateful for this extraordinary grant that allows us to build on our strong foundation of global reproductive health programs and continue to pursue a longtime dream to provide all women a full scope of high quality reproductive health care when and where they need it.”

    Read more »

    Video: $25 M grant backs U-M project to curb maternal deaths in Ethiopia (UM Health System)

    Ethiopia most successful in Africa at cutting maternal deaths – NGO

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    Spanish Nurse Becomes First Person to Contract Ebola Outside of Africa (Video)

    In the first known case of Ebola transmission outside of Africa, a nurse who treated two victims of Ebola in Madrid has tested positive for the disease, the panish Health Minister Ana Mato has confirmed. (AP)

    NBC News

    A nurse in Spain has become the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa in the latest epidemic, authorities said on Monday.

    The woman, who was described as a “sanitary tech,” last month treated a priest in Madrid who later died of Ebola after contracting the virus while doing missionary work in Sierra Leone.

    The elderly priest, Manuel Garcia Viejo, was treated in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, where he had been in quarantine since his return from Africa. He died on Sept. 25. The nurse entered the priest’s room twice: Once to treat him and once upon his death, to recover his belongings, officials said. She began showing signs of illness on Sept. 30 and sought treatment, they said.

    Health authorities said the nurse earlier had also helped treat another priest, Miguel Pajares, 75, who had been working in Liberia when he was afflicted with Ebola. He was airlifted back to Spain on Aug. 7 and died five days later.

    “We are working to verify the exact source of contact to see if all strict protocols were followed,” Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato said at a news conference on Monday.

    Read more »

    Video: Spanish Nurse Is First Person to Contract Ebola Outside of Africa (NBC News)

    Dallas Ebola Patient In Critical Condition
    First US Case of Ebola Diagnosed in Dallas
    Eight Ebola questions, answered (MSNBC)

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    Dallas Ebola Patient In Critical Condition

    The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Sept. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    The Huffington Post

    By Amanda L. Chan

    Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is now in critical condition, according to information released Saturday afternoon by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the hospital where he is staying.

    Duncan had previously been listed as being in serious condition. He was admitted to the hospital Sept. 28. His diagnosis with Ebola was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control on Sept. 30.

    Currently, there are about 50 people being monitored for Ebola after having known or possible contact with Duncan. Nine of these people had direct contact with Duncan, including his four relatives, with whom he was staying before he was sent to the hospital. The other 40 are being monitored for Ebola symptoms, but their contact with Duncan is less certain, health officials said today.

    So far, none of the individuals being monitored by health officials are showing any signs of Ebola.

    More from the Associated Press »

    Video: The travels and health travails of Thomas Eric Duncan (CNN)

    First US Case of Ebola Diagnosed in Dallas
    Eight Ebola questions, answered (MSNBC)

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    First US Case of Ebola Diagnosed in Dallas

    The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Sept. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    VOA News

    By Greg Flakus

    HOUSTON — Doctors in Dallas, Texas say they have diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient, whose identity has not been revealed, arrived on a flight from Liberia earlier this month, but showed no signs of illness until a few days later.

    The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, says the patient infected with the Ebola virus was healthy when he or she left Liberia and while on the flight to the United States.

    “This individual left Liberia on the 19th of September, arrived in the U.S. on the 20th of September, had no symptoms when departing Liberia or entering this country, but four or five days later, around the 24th of September, began to develop symptoms,” said Frieden.

    Frieden stressed that until the symptoms appeared, the person posed no threat of infection to anyone else. He said authorities are now trying to identify anyone who may have had contact with the infected person during the period when the symptoms first appeared to the time the patient went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for treatment.

    Those people will be closely monitored for a few weeks to make sure they did not contract the disease. A hospital spokesperson says the infected patient is in intensive care, but would not reveal any further information out of concern for the individual’s privacy.

    Doctors working on this case say Ebola can be easily contained through good public health practices, immediate quarantine of anyone showing symptoms and monitoring of people with whom that person came into contact. Frieden says the virus cannot be transmitted through the air, but only through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person manifesting symptoms.

    “While we do not currently know how this individual became infected, they undoubtedly had contact with someone who was sick with Ebola or who died from it,” he said.

    Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, sore throat and muscle aches. As the disease progresses, it produces hemorrhagic fever, which can cause bleeding and organ failure.

    Although American health workers who were diagnosed in Africa were flown back to the U.S. for treatment, the Texas man is the first patient to be diagnosed inside the United States.

    Ebola has killed nearly 3,100 people and infected more than 6,500 in West Africa. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most affected countries.

    The virus causes uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread by direct contact with the body fluids of infected patients.

    There is no specific treatment, but an American doctor diagnosed with the virus was found to be Ebola-free after taking an experimental drug last month.

    President Barack Obama has called Ebola a national security priority for the United States. He has called on the rest of the world to also regard it as a threat.

    The Pentagon said Tuesday it is sending 700 U.S. soldiers to Liberia to help that country handle the outbreak. Seven hundred Army engineers also will help build treatment centers. No U.S. military personnel will provide direct care to Ebola patients.

    Elsewhere in West Africa, the CDC said Tuesday it looks like the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria has been contained. Officials said there have been no new cases since August 31, and the 21-day monitoring period of those who came in contact with those infected ends Thursday. There were 19 confirmed Ebola cases in Nigeria.

    The CDC also says Senegal avoided an Ebola epidemic when authorities there isolated that country’s only Ebola case in August.

    Twelve other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. The CDC said all those tests came back negative.

    The White House says President Barack Obama discussed the CDC’s stringent isolation procedures with Frieden, who noted that the CDC was prepared for an Ebola case in the U.S.

    The data health officials have seen in the past few decades since Ebola was discovered indicate that it is not spread through casual contact or through the air. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated.

    The illness has an average 8-10 day incubation period (although it ranges from 2 to 21 days); CDC recommends monitoring exposed people for symptoms a complete 21 days. People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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    Rachel Nega: Ethiopian Doctor in Israel Breaking Barriers

    In her work as a doctor, Rachel Nega says she hopes to bridge some of "the huge gaps between different communities" in Israel. (The Jewish Week)

    The Jewish Week

    By Hannah Dreyfus

    Staff Writer

    Wearing a white coat, name badge and stethoscope, Dr. Rachel Nega strides through the halls of Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital. To patients and visitors, she looks like any other doctor on duty — slightly preoccupied, with a deliberate air to her step. Yet her dark skin and almond eyes hint at her unique background.

    Nega, 29, is the first Israeli-Ethiopian doctor to intern at Mount Sinai, an opportunity that came through the joint efforts of an Israeli nonprofit and an Israeli-American philanthropist. During the summer internship, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Martin Goldman, a leading cardiologist who heads the echocardiography lab at Mount Sinai.

    “This experience will shape my future,” says Nega over coffee in the Mount Sinai lobby.

    Nega, who is in her third year of medical school at Tel Aviv University, hopes to practice medicine in Israel’s “peripheries,” the parts of the country where specialized medical professionals are sparse. Her goal is to work with immigrants and those from impoverished backgrounds.

    Though Nega didn’t enter the internship knowing what medical specialty she wanted to pursue, she now is seriously considering cardiology. “The potential for innovation is huge,” she said.

    Nega’s story is just one of many demonstrating how the Israeli-Ethiopian community has overcome significant hurdles in the past few decades. A first-generation Israeli, Nega’s parents emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel in November 1984 during Operation Moses, the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews out of Sudan.

    Read more at The Jewish Week »

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    Ethiopian American Doctors Release Communiqué on Ebola Outbreak

    U.S.-based NGO, People to People (P2P), is a global network of Ethiopian health care professionals. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Friday, September 19, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – So far East Africa has been spared from the Ebola outbreak that’s ravaging western parts of the continent. But that’s no comfort says an association of Ethiopian doctors in the Diaspora, People to People (P2P), which issued a communiqué on Friday expressing its solidarity with fellow medical workers in West Africa. “We, as health care professionals of African descent, stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in those countries and ask for immediate action to alleviate and control this epidemic,” the U.S.-based NGO announced. P2P members are gathered in Washington, D.C. this weekend for the organization’s 6th annual conference on health care and medical education.

    “[Let's] pause for a moment and ask why we got here in the first place,” P2P stated. “This epidemic, as deadly as it is, should not have come to such a proportion if the world community acted swiftly and with an urgency that it deserves.” The communiqué adds: “We want to emphasize that this is an opportunity to galvanize the momentum created to envision a center of excellence in infectious diseases in Africa. The creation and funding of African Centers for Disease Control must be given priority and be set in motion as soon as possible. From those not affected by this epidemic, we ask due attention to health care infrastructure and manpower development before emergency strikes. From the African Union, UN, major donors and the world at large we ask for an immediate financial, manpower and equipment assistance to those countries who are heavily affected by the epidemic.”

    The P2P statement comes on the heels of a U.S. Congressional hearing on the crisis held this week (Wednesday, September 17th) by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, featuring testimony from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Ted Alemayhu, Founder & Executive Chairman of US Doctors for Africa; and Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, Director of the Secretariat at the Diaspora Liberian Emergency Response Task Force on the Ebola Crisis.

    In his testimony Ted Alemayhu told members of Congress that in addition to a severe shortage of healthcare professionals in Ebola affected countries — in some cases averaging “one doctor for 50,000 people” — protective medical gear such as masks, gloves, and gowns, are badly needed. “Local healthcare workers have threatened to quit their services if their safety is not insured with delivery of these items,” he said. “And who could blame them.”

    Video: U.S. House Hearing: Global Efforts to Fight Ebola

    Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

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    The World Yawns as Ebola Takes Hold in West Africa

    (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    By Richard E. Besser (Chief health editor at ABC News)

    In Monrovia, the blue steel gates guarding JFK Medical Center’s Ebola ward separate two worlds, each hopeless. On one side, three Liberians lie huddled on the ground under a UNICEF shelter, waiting to get in. On the other side, a flatbed truck loaded with 10 bodies in white plastic bags waits to drive out.

    The truck belongs to one of four burial teams who pluck the dead from treatment wards — or worse, from homes where terrified families huddle around loved ones, desperate for one last touch. For many Liberians, giving a body to the burial team for cremation is unthinkable. Yet those last touches — part of Liberian funeral practices — are the very things that spread Ebola.

    I follow the burial team to a home said to hold five bodies, all Ebola victims. As rain falls and a crowd gathers, the team members from the truck put on white suits and masks and set out down a narrow alley to the home. In 10 minutes, they are back. There were only two dead in the home, and the family told them to leave. “It isn’t Ebola,” they said. No time to find out if they were right — there are many more bodies to collect.

    Read more at The Washington Post »

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    How Ethiopia Solved Its Abortion Problem

    Zebiba waits for her abortion to be completed. (Photo: Heather Horn/GlobalPost

    Global Post

    By Heather Horn

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Zebiba, 28, sits in her purple headscarf in the small clinic room, the cramping already beginning. She took the tablets early this morning. She is three months pregnant.

    By 2 p.m., her abortion should be complete. She will return to her two children, now at school. She is divorcing their father, who has taken a second wife.

    Thus far, she has refused pain medications. Her relief at the ease of this termination is palpable. “She was nervous coming here,” says the nurse.

    A generation ago, botched abortions were the single biggest contributor to Ethiopia’s sky-high maternal mortality rate. Doctors in the largest public hospital in Addis Ababa, where Zebiba lives, still remember the time when three-quarters of the beds in the maternal ward were reserved purely for complications from such procedures.

    Then, in 2005, the country liberalized its abortion law.

    Today, it’s hard to find a health provider who’s seen more than one abortion-related death in the past five years. Although access to safe procedures and high quality care could still be expanded, doctors say that, increasingly, those who need an abortion can get one safely.

    But this success story has a catch: abortion is still illegal. Only under very limited circumstances is it allowed, and Zebiba’s case does not fall into one of the specified categories.

    Many of the women whose lives doctors and NGOs have saved in the past few years have been ushered through a legal loophole — and it’s possible that’s what the government intended all along.

    Read more at »

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    Ebola Travel: South Africa Bans Incomers From West Africa

    (Photo: EPA)

    BBC News

    South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

    Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

    Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.


    South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

    Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

    Read more at BBC News »

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    Ethiopia Braces for Ebola Treatment

    A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

    The Reporter

    By Berhanu Fekade

    Addis Ababa - A new Ebola treatment hospital with ten beds, and with the possible expansion to 50 beds, has already been set and equipped with medical staffs, Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health told reporters on Thursday.

    The facility is designed to treat Ebola – for which there are no observed cases in Ethiopia to date – in isolation.

    He noted that for contingency purposes, some 20 doctors and nurses are on standby and some are stationed at the airports to examine suspicious cases of Ebola. However, the minister said that Ebola is not at a state of emergency for Ethiopia currently and banning flights to and from West Africa is unnecessary. The minister also denied reports of two suspicious Ebola cases (one Chinese and the other Nigerian) as they were verified to be malaria patients.

    So far, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has killed more than 1,000 in West Africa and the spiraling spread of the virus alerted the African Union Commission (AUC) into approving the use of what is dubbed “investigational medical interventions” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in affected countries.

    During a press conference held on Wednesday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, representatives of the AU and WHO told reporters that drugs and experimental vaccines so far have not yet been fully evaluated for safety and efficacy on human beings. However, the large number of people affected by the outbreak in West Africa and the high case fatality rate, promoted to use investigational medical interventions to save lives and curb the epidemic, they said. It was confirmed that ZMAPP – the experimental drug still being tested by institutes in the US – is heading to those affected in West Africa.

    Read more at »

    No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

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    NPR: A Not-So-Grand Tour Of Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa (Audio)

    Family members sit in the waiting room for the neonatal unit at Black Lion hospital in Addis Ababa. (NPR)



    August 14, 2014

    Listen to the Story on NPR’s Morning Edition

    When you sign up for a reporting fellowship to learn about the health of newborns in Ethiopia, you expect things to be a little different from what you’re used to in the U.S. To be perfectly honest, a little worse. But Ethiopia actually surprised me, even before I took off.

    I did my research, and it turns out that Ethiopia’s health care system is getting better — significantly better. It’s meeting international goals, winning awards from the United States and, more important, babies are living longer and fewer mothers are dying in childbirth.

    This is great news. Maybe Ethiopia would be better than I expected. I got some shots in the arm, popped a few anti-malaria pills and hoped for the best.

    It was worse. Now, to be fair, all those things I said before are true. More babies are living through childbirth. Infant mortality has decreased by 39 percent in the past 15 years. But one in every 17 Ethiopian children still dies before turning 1, and one in every 11 children dies before age 5. There’s a ways to go.

    Once I arrived, it took me awhile to figure out what was actually happening with Ethiopia’s health care. I was more involved in recovering from the jet lag that woke me up at 1 a.m. every day and avoiding mosquitoes like the plague. I was honestly a little mosquito obsessive. I covered myself and each of my belongings with every repellent known to man: cream, spray, patches, bracelets, small mechanized devices. I needed all the help I could get — the little critters are hopelessly attracted to me.

    Read more at NPR »

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    President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador

    Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (left), President George W. Bush greets Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wed., August 6th, 2014. (Photos: U.S. Embassy)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, August 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Last week during the inaugural US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., former President George W. Bush convened First Spouses from across Africa, where he announced the launch of his global health initiative Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Ethiopia and Namibia focusing on preventing cervical cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in females in Ethiopia and the second most common in Namibia.

    At the gathering held on Wednesday, August 6th entitled Investing in Our Future, “an event to complement President Obama’s hosting of heads of state and government from the continent,” Bush also introduced the first group of “Ambassadors for the public-private partnership” including Bethlehem Alemu, Founder and Managing Director, soleRebels (Ethiopia); Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman, Econet Wireless (originally from Zimbabwe); Ambassador Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella, stateswoman (Tanzania); and Isha Sesay, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN International (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone).

    “The members of the group will use their personal platforms and networks to encourage social change, public support, and national policies to eliminate cervical cancer,” the George W. Bush Institute said in a press release. “They will also join with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners to spread positive messages that empower and drive women to seek care for themselves and their daughters, including screening, treatment, and vaccinations.”

    The Bush Center added: “Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a global health partnership founded by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The partnership — which has helped screen over 100,000 women for cervical cancer in Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia in the last three years — will build on existing healthcare programs in Ethiopia and Namibia to add interventions to prevent, screen for, and treat cervical cancer. The disease continues to be the number-one cancer killer of women in sub-Saharan Africa, exacerbated by its connection with HIV, since HIV-positive women are four-to-five times more likely to contract cervical cancer than their HIV-negative peers.”

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    Ethiopia, Kenya Boost Anti-Ebola Measures



    Kenya and Ethiopia, home to some of Africa’s largest transport hubs, said Thursday they had boosted measures to combat possible Ebola cases arriving in their countries.

    Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre said in a statement that “port health services are on standby, with enhanced screening at border points to prevent and contain any possible disease threat”.

    Meanwhile Ethiopia Airlines said it was taking “extraordinary precautions in connection with the outbreak of the disease”.

    Ethiopia’s national carrier is a major airline connecting countries across Africa, as well as flying to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

    “Stringent and specific surveillance is being carried out regarding all flights from west Africa at Addis Ababa airport,” the airline said in a statement.

    Fears that the outbreak of the virus in west Africa could spread have grown in recent days.

    Almost 700 people have been killed since the first case was detected in February.

    Read more »

    5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in West Africa

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    Ethiopia’s Key to Safer Births? Better Roads

    Ergedu Mitiku rocks her seven-week-old son in her home in Mosebo, a village in Ethiopia's Amhara Region on June 19. 2014. (Photograph: Ariel Zirulnick/TCSM)

    CS Monitor

    By Ariel Zirulnick

    MOSEBO, AMHARA REGION, ETHIOPIA — From the booming capital of Addis Ababa to Ethiopia’s remotest border regions, excavators are busy scraping earth, making way for roads that will finally connect the far reaches of this largely rural country.

    Ethiopia’s full-court press toward a modern road network is certainly a boon to its industry and agriculture. But it may also help Ethiopia shed its notoriety as one of the worst places to be an expectant mother or a newborn. Women name distance and transit as two of the greatest obstacles to accessing health services.

    Ethiopia’s maternal and newborn mortality rates are among the world’s highest, though its maternal mortality rates are declining faster than anywhere else on the continent. Many deaths are caused by childbirth complications that could be handled by someone with medical training. Sanitation is another problem. Yet more than 60 percent of women still give birth at home, according to government estimates. (Some international aid groups estimate that number is closer to 80 percent.)

    Read more at »

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    UN Says People Living Longer Worldwide: In Ethiopia Life Expectancy Rises To 64 Years

    An elderly Mongolian herder drinks fermented mare’s milk in Ulaanbaatar. (Photograph credit: World Bank)

    UN News Center

    By UN News Service

    People everywhere are living longer, the United Nations health agency today reported, mostly because fewer children are dying, certain diseases are in check, and tobacco use is down, but conditions in low-income countries continue to plague life quality there.

    According to the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Statistics 2014, a girl born in 2012 can expect to live around 73 years and a boy to the age of 68. That is six years longer than the average life span for a child in 1990.

    With one year to go until the 2015 target date for achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), substantial progress has been made on many health-related goals, the report authors wrote.

    “The global target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of drinking water was met in 2010, with remarkable progress also having been made in reducing child mortality, improving nutrition, and combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” the report states.

    WHO’s statistics show that low-income countries have made the greatest progress, with an average increase in life expectancy by 9 years from 1990 to 2012. The top six countries where life expectancy increased the most were Liberia which saw a 20-year increase (from 42 years in 1990 to 62 years in 2012) followed by Ethiopia (from 45 to 64 years), Maldives (58 to 77 years), Cambodia (54 to 72 years), Timor-Leste (50 to 66 years) and Rwanda (48 to 65 years).

    Nevertheless, nearly 18,000 children worldwide died every day in 2012, according to the findings, with large inequities remaining in child mortality between high-income and low-income countries.

    “There is still a major rich-poor divide: people in high-income countries continue to have a much better chance of living longer than people in low-income countries,” said Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan.

    Women live longer than men in general, but in high-income countries the difference is around six years, while in low-income countries, the average falls to three years.

    The findings among children are even more glaring. A girl born in 2012 in a high-income country can expect to live to the age of around 82, which is 19 years longer than a girl born in a low-income country. The difference for boys is 16 years.

    Geographically, women in Japan live the longest, with an average life expectancy of 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore at 85 years. The average lifespan of men is highest in Iceland at 81 years.

    “In high-income countries, much of the gain in life expectancy is due to success in tackling noncommunicable diseases,” said Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO.

    “Fewer men and women are dying before they get to their 60th birthday from heart disease and stroke. Richer countries have become better at monitoring and managing high blood pressure for example,” he added.

    Declining tobacco use is also a key factor in helping people live longer in several countries.

    At the other end of the scale, life expectancy for both men and women is still less than 55 years in nine sub-Saharan African countries, including Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

    Read more at UN News Center.

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    Dr. Elias Siraj From Temple University Presented Prestigious Service Award

    Elias S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program and Diabetes Program. (Photo: Courtesy AACE)

    Media AACE

    Press Release

    Elias S. Siraj, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., received the Outstanding Service Award for Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Las Vegas on May 17, 2014.

    The Outstanding Service Award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the endocrine care, health and service to an underserved population in the United States or abroad via leadership, long-term commitment, vision, innovation and impact.

    “With my origins in Ethiopia, a country with large number of underserved population, I always thought I am fortunate to be where I am and it is my responsibility to give back in whatever way that I can,” said Dr. Siraj. “I am very humbled by the fact that AACE has recognized my contributions to the underserved populations in my country of origin, Ethiopia, and my adopted country, USA in such a manner.”

    Dr. Siraj has made significant contributions towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of Ethiopia’s medical schools, including a key role in the launch of the country’s first Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program. He has also provided free care for endocrine patients, conducted significant research on diabetes in Ethiopians and provided leadership in organizations fostering collaboration between Ethiopian and US medical institutions or medical professionals.

    Dr. Siraj is currently a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program and Director of Diabetes Program at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also a Member of ABIM Subspecialty Board for Endocrinology.

    More about Dr Elias S. Siraj

    Dr. Siraj attended medical school in Ethiopia at Gondar College of Medical Sciences, Addis Ababa University. He was then awarded a scholarship to do residency and research training at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Subsequently, he completed his residency and fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

    Dr. Siraj is board certified in both endocrinology & internal medicine, and is an active member of several professional organizations. Currently he is Board Member of ABIM Endocrinology subsection and a Past President of Philadelphia Endocrine Society. A frequent national and international speaker, he has published multiple articles, abstracts and book chapters on diabetes and endocrine disorders. For his teaching efforts at Temple University, he was given “Excellence in Teaching Award” by the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Siraj is also very involved in clinical research and trials.

    Since the days of his training in Germany in the early 1990s, Dr. Siraj has been engaged in helping his native country Ethiopia in patient care, medical education and research. In research, he has made significant contribution to our understanding of the characteristics of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in Ethiopia and published several papers and abstracts. Regarding patient care, he has provided free medical care to patients with diabetes and other endocrine conditions at various hospitals.

    Perhaps the most important contribution of Dr. Siraj to the health care system in Ethiopia is in medical education. Over the years, Dr. Siraj has significantly contributed towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of the country’s medical schools. To be highlighted is the key role Dr. Siraj played in the launching of the first ever Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa. He was also instrumental in the creation of partnership between Temple University and Addis Ababa University.

    Dr. Siraj also serves as Vice President of People to People Inc. (P2P), which is a nonprofit organization established in the US, by physicians of Ethiopian origin to support the Ethiopian Health Care system. Within P2P, Dr. Siraj has been instrumental in the conception, launching and ongoing leadership of the Annual Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education which is conducted annually in Washington, DC since 2009. He has also facilitated the creation of partnerships between Ethiopian medical schools/hospitals & partner institutions in the US.

    Dr. Siraj is also an ardent patient educator and advocate for underserved people both here in the US and in Ethiopia. He has led and participated in various initiatives targeted at African Americans and Ethiopian immigrant population in the US through community outreaches, publications as well as frequent radio & TV interviews.

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    Ethiopia Most Successful in Africa at Cutting Maternal Deaths – NGO

    In a 2008 photo released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), a woman carries her baby at a feeding centre in southern Ethiopia. (Photograph Credit: IFRC)

    Thomson Reuters Foundation

    By Katy Migiro

    Tue, 6 May 2014

    NAIROBI – Pregnancy-related deaths in Ethiopia have fallen by nearly two-thirds, making it the African country that has most successfully lowered its maternal mortality rate thanks to its lifesaving investment in female health workers and girls’ education, Save the Children said on Tuesday.

    Ethiopia’s maternal deaths have fallen from one in 24 women dying due to pregnancy in 2000 to one in 67 today.

    “For a country beset by natural disasters such as droughts and food shortages, this shows that concerted efforts in tough places work,” Save the Children wrote in its annual report State of the World’s Mothers.

    Out of 178 countries included in the report, Save the Children ranks Finland as the best place to be a mother or child and Somalia as the worst.

    Ethiopia came in 149th, faring poorly in indicators such as an average annual income of only $380 per person and only 6.6 years of expected formal schooling.

    Read more.

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    Using Ethiopia’s Healthcare Gaps to Do Good and Make a Profit

    Patients waiting inside a hospital in Addis Ababa on the weekend. The capital has only four stationary MRI scanners, providing services to 30 government- and private-run hospitals. (Photograph Credit: IPS News)


    By James Jeffrey

    ADDIS ABABA — (IPS) – For a while now, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scanners have typically been a luxury that both government and private hospitals in Ethiopia have struggled to afford to purchase for in-house use.

    Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital with an ever-growing population of around 3.8 million, currently has only four stationary MRI scanners that provide services to 30 government and private hospitals, according to Zelalem Molla, a surgeon based in Addis Ababa.

    Outside of the capital, only two MRI scanners exist. But the six scanners — in this Horn of Africa nation of some 92 million people — are old fashioned and far behind the technological curve in the West.

    “It would be wrong to claim that the mobile MRI scanner would save lives,” says Zelalem, whose lunchtime chat with American entrepreneur Peter Burns III about the paucity of scanners sparked a business idea.

    “[In a developing economy] a government’s focus on financial market stability and security issues can result in healthcare issues remaining on the side-lines.” — Alayar Kangarlu, MRI research centre, Columbia University
    But, Zelalem notes, more MRI scanners — which use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the inside of the body that can be analysed on computers — would crucially allow more doctors to diagnose illnesses far earlier when they are operable and potentially curable.

    “Often it is not possible for doctors to diagnose illnesses such as tumours until they physically appear at a stage when the chances of saving a patient are slim — or it is too late,” Zelalem tells IPS.

    However, actual figures about the number of people directly affected here by the lack of MRI scanners do not exist.

    In the past, some Ethiopians have needed to travel to other African countries such as Kenya and South Africa, or to Europe to have scans. This even included Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia’s track runner, who used to go to Munich, Germany for scans to help diagnose running injuries.

    Read more.

    CEO Weekend: Ethiopia’s Hello Doctors Raises Funding From Africa Group

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    CEO Weekend: Ethiopia’s Hello Doctors Raises Funding From Africa Group



    By Sam Wakoba

    Telemed Medical Services (Telemed), an Ethiopian engineering consultancy specializing in health system design and implementation within the Ethiopian healthcare sector has today raised funding from The Africa Group (TAG), a US-based boutique advisor and venture capital investor.

    TAG will own a 25% stake in Telemed, which was founded in 2012 to reinforce limited health resources in Ethiopia, a country where the doctor-to-patient ratio is ~1:30,000 and 80% of the population lives over 5 kilometers from the nearest health center.

    In a statement, Dr. Yohans Wodaje, Founder of Telemed said, “Telemed provides a critical service to the Ethiopian public and it is important to make all necessary investments to ensure the scale-up of this transformative endeavor. Venture capital is a crucial source of financing for start-up business like ours, having the potential of catapulting them to reach greater markets; our partnership with TAG is the perfect match, enabling us access to the appropriate amount of capital with the right kind of technical support.”

    Read more.

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    Tadias Interview: Dr. Enawgaw Mehari on Pan-African Health Conference

    Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of People to People - P2P. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, February 24th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born Neurologist Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of People to People (P2P), keeps a busy schedule at his job as a consultant at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and Neurology Course Director for University of Kentucky, but he always finds time to form global partnerships on healthcare related projects in Ethiopia. P2P, an Ethiopian doctors association that he founded in 1999, has a worldwide membership of over 55,000 as well as close ties with medical institutions in Ethiopia and the United States. Recently the California-based non-profit organization, US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), announced that it has partnered with P2P as its “Strategic Co-host” of the upcoming Pan-African Medical Doctors and Healthcare Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 21st through 23rd, 2014.

    “It is so natural these two organizations have agreed to come together to host such a high level conference,” Dr. Enawgaw said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. Dr. Enawgaw noted that the gathering will highlight what he calls a “Triangular Partnership,” a term used by People to People — which also runs a free clinic in Kentucky for the working poor — to describe the relationship of three global groups: Diaspora, developing countries and Western institutions. “For so long the donor communities have given huge amount of money to Africa but have not invested sufficiently in capacity building,” he added. “People to People believes in a pragmatic vision that Triangular Partnership is the new paradigm.”

    Dr. Enawgaw pointed out that Ethio American Medical Group (EDAG) and Global Ethiopian Medical Enterprise, both members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, have merged together to build a state of the art hospital in Addis Ababa. “The goal is to mitigate the migration of Ethiopians to other countries for their high caliber healthcare,” he said. “The group believes we are where we are and we have what we have and it is therefore natural to give back to the people who made our dreams a reality.”

    Dr. Enawgaw emphasized that there are many distinguished Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopians who are making a difference in many ways “such as Dr. Girma Tefera from University of Wisconsin coordinating the emergency medicine program, Dr. Senait Fisseha from Michigan University helping St. Paul University with its post graduate training, Dr. Elias Siraj from Temple University supporting the Endocrinology program, Dr. Dawd Siraj and Dr. Makeda Semret from McGill University in Canada supporting the infectious disease program at Black Lion hospital, Dr. Kassa Darge supporting the radiology program at Black Lion, Dr. Zelalem Temesgen from Mayo Clinic developing HIV/AIDS online education program for Ethiopia, and Dr. Anteneh Habte supporting the palliative and hospice educational effort to be added to medical school curriculums. In addition, Dr. Fikre Girma from McMaster University in Canada has played a significant role in introducing CME for emergency medicine in Ethiopia. The Hakim Workneh and Melaku Beyan society has been playing important roles in medical education and the health care system in Ethiopia. The list is huge and I hope I am not in trouble for forgetting important names.”

    The upcoming conference at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa, Dr. Enawgaw said, is open to medical students, medical doctors, health care specialists, policy makers and any one interested both at home and abroad. He said some of the topics at the conference will include “Technology, education, infrastructure, social media, medical ethics, mental health, brain drain, brain circulation, brain gain, women’s health, burden of diseases, and non-infectious emerging chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, heart attack and stroke.”

    You can learn more about the conference at

    Ted Alemayehu Prepares for Pan-African Healthcare Conference in Ethiopia

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    Yared Tekabe’s Research Shows Promising Results in Treatment of Diabetes

    Dr. Yared Tekabe in his office at Columbia University's William Black building in New York. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Yared Tekabe, a research scientist at Columbia University, has been working on groundbreaking non-invasive detection of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis — the building up of plaque in your arteries — which can lead to heart attack or stroke. After developing a tracer that could show the presence of a receptor called RAGE in areas where tissues were inflamed, Tekabe and his colleagues have now moved from detection and diagnostics to applying anti-RAGE antibodies for therapeutic purposes.

    “Until now we were focusing on early diagnosis of heart diseases using our anti-RAGE antibody to detect diseases such as atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy — a condition where muscle tissue of the heart becomes enlarged or rigid leading to irregular heartbeat or heart failure,” says Tekabe in a recent interview with Tadias. “At the time we didn’t realize the therapeutic potential for the antibody.”

    Now anti-RAGE antibodies have become a game-changer as RAGE has been implicated in up to 12 diseases including diabetes, cancer, metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation.

    Tekabe initially sent anti-RAGE antibody to his former advisor at Northeastern University who conducts research on human cancer cells and asked him to study the effect of the antibody on human tissue culture. His advisor had used three cell lines including those for human prostate cancer, sensitive ovarian cancer, and multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer.

    “One of the problems in cancer treatment is that there is drug resistance, and we wanted to use the antibody on these cells. We found that 70% of the multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer cells died!” Yared exclaims. “So the antibody has brought really good results. If you ask what is the next step, I would say that we would like to study its therapeutic possibility on animal models.”

    Another primary study conducted by Tekabe using anti-RAGE antibody focuses on complications of late stage diabetes such as ischemia. “In individuals that have diabetes they often undergo hand and leg amputations due to poor blood circulation,” Tekabe explains. “So what I did was to make mice have high blood glucose and induce diabetes and ligated or bound their femoral artery to restrict circulation.” The mice were then treated with anti-RAGE antibody and compared to a control group that didn’t receive the antibody treatment. Tekabe and his colleagues were surprised to find that the treated mice showed new blood vessels were forming in their hindlimb. In effect the ischemia caused by late stage diabetes was being reversed.

    “We looked to see if this antibody treatment also reversed the high blood glucose level or affected body weight of the diabetic mice, but we didn’t find any significant changes in these two factors,” Tekabe adds. However, the formation of new blood vessels is a significant finding that points to the possible therapeutic use of the antibody for human diabetic patients, a promising therapy for those who may otherwise have to undergo amputations.

    Tekabe’s research was recently published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. “Moving forward we hope to continue the research and advance to human diabetic treatment, after humanizing the antibody first” he says. “We are also looking at possible therapeutic uses of the antibody for other conditions including kidney failure and heart failure, which are also often diagnosed in late stage diabetic patients.”

    Tekabe and his colleagues are currently securing additional funds to get a second patent for this research and focus on using the antibody for theranostics — both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

    Yared Tekabe Uses Molecular Imaging for Early Detection of Heart Disease
    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease

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    How Community Health Workers Dramatically Improve Healthcare

    Hani Wondwesen is waiting with two children at a clinic in Addis Ababa where they will have pediatric appointments (Ankita Rao/Kaiser Health News)

    The Atlantic

    Hermon Girma is stirring bean stew over a wood-fed stove when she hears someone at the gate. She sends her 3-year-old son to slide open the piece of corrugated metal that separates her home and others from the cobblestone street in Kirkos, a neighborhood in Ethiopia’s burgeoning capital city, Addis Ababa.

    Tigist Seyoum, a sturdy 35-year-old woman with a large black purse and cornrowed braids, leans down to kiss the boy’s cheek as she enters. The community health worker and the boy’s mother sit on a sofa in the Girmas’ home—two tidy, small rooms crammed with furniture. They chat about neighborhood gossip and the family’s health, including checking on birth control prescriptions.

    Community health workers like Seyoum have helped Ethiopia reduce child mortality by two-thirds since 1990 and death from malaria, a common disease, by 55 percent. Since their deployment, contraception use among women—from longer-lasting injections to daily birth control pills—has doubled from 15 to almost 30 percent in six years.

    Read more at The Atlantic.

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    Betelhem Seleshi’s Mobile Ultrasound Brings Home the News to Expecting Parents

    Betelhem Seleshi (right), owner of the Maryland-based Baby Joy 3D/4D Mobile Ultrasound, finds out the sex of Deisy Izquierdo’s fetus during a baby shower in Silver Spring on Sunday, Jan 26th, 2014. (Gazette)

    The Gazette

    By Aline Barros Staff Writer

    Baby Joy 3-D/4-D Mobile Ultrasound promises expecting mothers and fathers a personal and intimate experience — finding out their in utero baby’s sex — away from a doctor’s office.

    Baby Joy 3D/4D Ultrasound, a Silver Spring business, was an idea that grew from a mother of two who believes seeing a baby in the womb is a special bonding moment.

    “I see pregnant women every day. … Some of them want to show the pictures to their husbands that couldn’t make it to the doctor’s office … or they want to show the pictures to the grandparents who were watching the kids at home,” Betelhem Seleshi said.

    And that’s when Seleshi thought: Why not bring the experience to people’s homes?

    Read more at The Gazette.

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    Dr. Catherine Hamlin: 90 Year Old Surgeon Keeps a Steady Hand in Ethiopia

    Dr. Catherine Hamlin, who celebrated her 90th birthday last week, has lived in Ethiopia for over 52 years. She tells SBS Radio that she will continue her work with childbirth injury patients. (Fistula Hospital)

    World News Australia Radio

    By Naomi Selveratnam

    Australian surgeon Catherine Hamlin has just celebrated her 90th birthday, and for most people, this would be a good enough reason to slow down.

    But Dr Hamlin says she will continue her work with women in Ethiopia with the potentially life-threatening medical condition, obstetric fistula.

    When Catherine Hamlin celebrated her 90th birthday, she didn’t want gifts or a party.

    Instead, she says she wished for her hands to remain steady enough to continue to operate on some of the thousands of women who come to the hospital she and her late husband, Reg, established in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    Click here to read more and hear audio of the interview.

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    Family Planning Summit Set for Ethiopia

    UN, USAID say millions of women have unmet family planning needs. (Photo: USAID)

    VOA News

    By Joe DeCapua

    About 4,000 people are expected to attend this year’s International Conference on Family Planning. The three day meeting opens November 12 in Addis Ababa. The theme is Full Access, Full Choice.

    Listen to De Capua report on family planning conference

    Organizers described the conference as “a movement and platform” in the family planning agenda. They say Ethiopia was chosen to host this year’s meeting because of its strong commitment to family planning and its access to modern contraceptive methods.

    A new resource will be unveiled at the conference called Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning. It’s a joint effort by the World Health Organization, USAID, the U.N. Population Fund and ministries of health from many countries, among others. It’s called a “roadmap” for designing effective postpartum family planning programs at both the local and national levels.

    “This resource is going to change how family planning is provided to women around the time of birth in the postpartum,” said Anne Pfitzer, family planning team leader for the USAID’s Maternal Child Health Integrated Program or MCHIP.

    She said that during postpartum – the time after childbirth — women have distinct and unmet family planning needs.

    “We have seen that postpartum family planning is essential, is needed. It saves lives. We think that this resource document is going to help many countries do more to reach women, who right now may be confused about family planning options right around the time of birth.”

    In fact, she said, many women may be unaware of the risk of becoming pregnant again so soon after giving birth.

    “In many countries, too many closely spaced births, which are associated with negative outcomes for both mothers and babies in terms of their health. We know, I think intuitively that mothers don’t want to have a baby every year. Mortality curves show much better outcomes between three to five years between pregnancies.”

    Organizers said data for 27 developing countries show that “95 percent of postpartum women want to avoid another pregnancy” in the two years following birth. They added that “65 percent have an unmet need for contraception.”

    “The problem I think is that many women themselves are confused about when they might get pregnant after a pregnancy. They have misconception about methods of family planning – how they interact with breastfeeding, for example. Or sometimes they think that because it took them three years to get pregnant last time it will be the same this time around. And in fact six months later they’re pregnant again,” Pfitzer said.

    Organizers estimate that “287,000 women die every year from problems caused by childbirth – and that one in four women could be saved if they had global access to contraception.” What’s more, they say 200 million couples in the developing world are “unable to control the number and spacing” of the birth of their children.

    In the United States, family planning is often a political issue – with debates over privacy, abortion and a woman’s right to choose.

    Pfitzer said, “It’s unfortunate that in the U.S. family planning has become controversial. It shouldn’t happen in this day and age. Couples should have the chance to plan the number and timing of their children and have all the options available to them to do so.”

    Ethiopian fashion model Liya Kebede is helping to launch Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning. She has a foundation promoting maternal health.

    This year’s International Conference on Family Planning is co-hosted by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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    Ethiopian Girl Gets An 8 lb. Neck Tumor Removed At Local Hospital (NY PIX11)

    13-year-old Aster Degaro before and after her surgery. (Photo: WPIX-TV)

    New York’s PIX11

    New York – Last week, Aster Degaro, a 13-year-old from Ethiopia had a life changing surgery to remove an 8 lb. tumor on her neck she’s had since birth.

    With help from the Little Baby Face Foundation, this brave girl was able to come to the states from Ethiopia and have this operation at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

    Doctors Milton Waner and Thomas Romo worked on Aster for eight hours and completed the procedure without any complications.

    Aster and her father plan to stay in New York City for the next three months during recovery.

    Aster will require multiple surgeries to completely remove the cyst from her face. (PIX11)

    Read more and see photos at

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    UNICEF: Ethiopia Reduces Child Mortality Rates By Half (Video)

    Ethiopia has reduced child mortality rates by 50%, according to a new millennium development goal report by UNICEF: "2013 Progress Report on Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed." (Photo: ICMHD)

    UNICEF Television

    September 13th, 2013

    Gambella, Ethiopia – For a country that once made headlines for famine, poverty and war, Ethiopia is gaining a reputation as a development leader on the African continent. In just over 10 years, the country has slashed child mortality rates by half, rising in global rank from 146 in 2000 to 68 in 2012. More money is being spent on health care, poverty levels and fertility rates are down, and twice as many children are in school.

    Read more at Unicef Org.

    Also see: The 2013 Progress Report on Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (PDF)

    Watch: Health care extension workers in Ethiopia help address child mortality (UNICEF)

    Ethiopia achieves development target on reducing child mortality (The Guardian)

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    Bogaletch Gebre: Talking Female Circumcision Out of Existence

    Bogaletch Gebre, winner of the 2013 King Baudouin Prize, is the founder of KMG, Kembatti Mentti Gezzima-Toppe, a Kembatta women’s self-help organization based in southern Ethiopia. (Photo: YouTube)

    The New York Times


    Like every other girl of her era in her part of southern Ethiopia — and most girls in the country — Bogaletch Gebre was circumcised. In some regions girls are circumcised as infants, but in her zone it happened at puberty. It was around 1967, and she was about 12. A man held her from behind, blindfolded her and stuffed a rag in her mouth, and with his legs held her legs open so she could not move. A female circumciser took a razor blade and sliced off Gebre’s genitals.

    Gebre nearly bled to death. She stayed at home for about two months, and after she healed, she was presented to her village, ready for marriage.

    Unicef estimates (pdf) that between 70 million and 140 million girls and women globally are circumcised. The practice is widespread throughout Africa, and in some countries of Asia and the Middle East. In Ethiopia it is done by Muslims, Christians and Jews. (Gebre’s region of Kembata-Tembaro is a largely Protestant area of some 700,000 people in Ethiopia’s south.) No major religion endorses circumcision. Communities that practice it have in common that they are traditional societies where female sexuality is viewed mainly as a potential threat to family honor — in Kembata-Tembaro, the practice is called “cutting off the dirt.” To keep girls from promiscuity and ruin, the clitoris and often the labia are cut off to deaden sexual sensation.

    Read more at The New York Times.

    Women’s Rights Activists Bogaletch Gebre wins King Baudouin Prize (BBC News)
    Ethiopian Activist Recognized for Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation (VOA)

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    DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs Hosts Health Education Festival – June 1st

    Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray arrives at the 2nd annual DC African Festival. (Photo courtesy the Mayor's Office on African Affairs)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs is hosting a networking and informational gathering this weekend targeting the District’s African residents. Organizers say the festival, entitled The DC African Wellness Fête, is designed to motivate positive health behavior within the community and increase awareness of local health services and resources.

    The Health Education Festival, which takes place on Saturday, June 1st at Brightwood Education Campus, is spearheaded by TEAM Africa, the coordinating committee made up of DC government representatives, health professionals, community-based organizations and advocates.

    Winta Teferi, a program analyst at the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, told Tadias that they have been conducting “a door-to-door campaign to invite members of the Ethiopian, Nigerian and other communities to the event.”

    The 3-month initiative includes an outreach and education program with workshops on general health literacy and nutrition that supports Mayor Gray’s city-wide plan for “facilitating greater access to quality health care, by increasing education about healthy living habits and by reducing HIV/AIDS rates in the District.”

    The June 1st festival will “showcase a diverse array of interactive activities,” Winta said, that promote culture-based lifestyle changes as well as a number of government and community-based exhibitors who will help facilitate access to health information, testing and services.

    “Having safe and healthy communities to live in is a basic and fundamental right to which all residents are entitled,” Mayor Gray said in a statement. “I look forward to working together as one city to help encourage healthy behaviors and improve health, education, wellness and outreach in critical areas that affect every District resident.”

    Prior research has shown that stigma, language, and cultural incompatibility are key contributors to health disparities and barriers to access for the District’s African immigrant communities.

    If You Go:
    Saturday, June 1, 2013 | 12pm – 4pm
    Brightwood Education Campus | 1300 Nicholson St. NW
    Learn more at

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    Atlanta Fundraiser Benefitting Clinic at a Time

    Mulusew Yayehyirad wrote the book "You Can Make Injera" to support her organization 'Clinic at a Time.'

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Wednesday, May 5th, 2013

    Atlanta (TADIAS) — The U.S. based non-profit organization Clinic at a Time that works with rural public hospitals in Ethiopia to expand their existing facility and services, announced that it will hold a fundraiser this weekend at Lona Gallery in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia.

    The founder, Mulusew Yayehyirad, a nurse who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, said the event is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th; it’s titled “A Night of Hope” and will raise funds for a construction of four room maternal care recovery unit inside Bichena Clinic in the Gojam region.

    The dinner is being hosted by Kindred and Meredith Howard, adoptive parents of twin brothers from northwestern Ethiopia, who lost their mother due to birth complications and lack of medical attention.

    “What if Marta [the twins' late mother] had access to maternity care?” the couple said in a statement. “What if there was a clinic nearby that Marta could have gone to while in labor instead of giving birth in her mud hut alone, while her husband was walking for hours to find the closest midwife to help her?”

    “Our goal is to reduce these problems by assisting to improve what’s already working,” Mulu said.

    According to the UN Population Fund 1 in 14 Ethiopian women face the risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth due to largely preventable health injuries. “To be honest, for me the clinics have not changed much since I was a child,” added Mulu who grew up in the region. “It’s mostly as I remember it.”

    “People travel for days to get to the clinic, but they have to sit outside in the sun once they get there because that’s the waiting area,” Mulu said. “If we can build a patient waiting space, that’s one progress. In addition if we include laboratory equipment, delivery beds, etc, all contribute to the betterment of the present resource.”

    Besides her book You Can Make Injera, which the nurse authored to generate revenue for Clinic at a Time, Mulu pointed out that the event will also feature Ethiopian cuisine catered by Piassa Restaurant and American food by Mimi Maumus.

    If You Go:
    A Night Of Hope: Fundraiser Benefitting Clinic at a Time, Inc.
    Hosted By: Kindred & Meredith Howard
    Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)
    Lawrenceville, GA
    Click here to buy tickets.
    Learn more at

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    Vipassana Meditation in Ethiopia

    The following article is a reader submission from Ethiopia. The author, Yacob Gabremedhin, pictured above, is a 37-year-old certified yoga teacher as well as co-owner of a civil engineering consulting company in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    Reader Submission

    By Yacob Gabremedhin

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Imagine sitting quietly at a retreat center in Debre Zeit for 10 days, meditating for more than 11 hours a day. That’s where I had my first real experience in meditation.

    I started out in January 2009, a year after the first Vipassana meditation course had been offered. And there I was sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, in complete silence with 30 other participants receiving instructions both in Amharic and English. The first course in Ethiopia was organized in 2008 by former students who took similar lessons abroad.

    Having been born and raised in Addis, where I attended Cathedral and Saint Joseph schools, and later part of the Technology Faculty at Addis Ababa University, I read and dabbled a bit in such things, this was not my first introduction to meditation. But it would prove later to be the most meaningful and lasting.

    Ten days of silent meditation from 4 AM to 9 PM — no reading, no talking, no cell phones, internet or music. This is Vipassana meditation. It means ‘seeing things as they really are.’ Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. It is the process of self-purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With a sharpened awareness the person then proceeds to notice the changing nature of body and mind, and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. For this reason, it can be practiced freely by everyone, at any time, in any place, without conflict due to race, community or religion, and it will prove equally beneficial to the individual and those around them.

    In the last 45 years alone business and national leaders across the globe including the President of India have taken Vipassana training. The Roman Catholic Church has allowed more than 6000 priests and nuns to take the course. There are coachings especially tailored for executives as well. Not to mention that federal governments of different countries, such as India, Israel and the US have come to understand the effectiveness of the technique and started teaching it in prisons as well. An introduction to Vipassana as rehabilitation was filmed in 2007 inside a maximum-security prison called the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Alabama. The documentary, The Dhamma Brothers, was featured on Oprah the same year and was awarded ‘Best Documentary’ prize at the “Wood Hole Film Festival” in Massachusetts.

    Courses are run solely on a donation basis. There are no charges for the classes, food or accommodation. All expenses are met by contributions from those who, having completed a lesson and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the same opportunity.

    All trainings given around the world are completely identical in format, timetable, activity and organization. The only difference is in the cuisine as each country serves mainly local dishes. All selections, however, must be vegetarian. In Ethiopia, we prepare yetsome megib (fasting food); injera or bread with shiro and misir wot, salads and cooked veggies.

    The initial Vipassana mediation course in Ethiopia was led by former students who had studied with S.N. Goenka, who started teaching in 1969 after learning the tradition from Sayagyi U Ba Khin of Burma. In Debre Zeit approximately 30 students enrolled in the first retreat held from January 30th to February 11th, 2008.

    To date, eleven such gatherings have been held in the country. Though those who come to attend are mainly Ethiopians residing in Addis and other large towns, students have also come from other nations in Africa, Europe, Asia the US, Canada and more. A number of Ethiopians residing in America have also taken classes here.

    Having had an unforgettable experience at the end of my first session four years ago, I still continue to practice regularly whenever time and other resources allow, including a couple of workouts in Northern California and Georgia where I traveled to visit family and friends.

    Today, as meditation continues to grow in Ethiopia, so are efforts to strengthen the establishment of a Vipassana Trust. Vipassana is not for adults only. There are also trainings designed for children. The program offers young people, between the ages of 8 and 16 years, an introduction to Anapana meditation, which is a practice of the observation of natural breath to focus the mind.

    Those seeking to get in touch can contact us at:

    For more information about Vipassana Meditation courses in Ethiopia and rest of the world, readers can visit the website:

    Below is a slideshow of images from Debre Zeit:

    Do you have a story to share with Tadias Magazine? We warmly welcome our readers’ submissions. Send your story idea to the editors at

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    Geographic Technology Helps Put Ethiopia on Map of Global Health Success

    DKT Ethiopia, which opened in 1990, is the largest distributor of contraceptives, condoms and other health products throughout Ethiopia. (Images courtesy DKT/E)

    The Huffington Post

    By David J. Olson

    In just six years, DKT Ethiopia has transformed its system for tracking contraceptive sales from pins and pencils to computers and satellites and, in the process, helped create a family planning and HIV prevention success story in the Horn of Africa.

    DKT Ethiopia is an affiliate of DKT International, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide couples with affordable and safe options for family planning and HIV prevention in 19 low- and middle-income countries. In Ethiopia, DKT uses social marketing to distribute three brands of condoms (and eight variants), three oral contraceptive pills, two IUDS, two injectables, one brand of emergency contraception and several other health products.

    It was in 2007 that DKT Ethiopia started using GIS (Geographic Information System), a tool to display and analyze sales, finance and inventory information geographically and, particularly, to plot every one of its 30,000+ direct and indirect sales outlets. This has made an enormous difference in DKT’s ability to know how its contraceptive sales are going in every corner of Ethiopia.

    Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

    Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Norway Co-host Education & Technology Health Summit (TADIAS)

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    The State of Women in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region

    (Photo: David Snyder/ICRW)

    The Word on Women – A second chance for Ethiopia’s child brides (

    By Jeff Edmeades

    Washington, DC – Once again, I have just returned to my home base in Washington, DC after spending several weeks in Ethiopia’s deeply poor, yet breathtaking, Amhara region. And once again – as is always the case – I was inspired by the sheer enthusiasm and thirst for opportunity among an often forgotten group: child brides.

    Amhara has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with around three quarters of women aged 20 to 24 marrying before their 18th birthday. Over the past three years, I’ve been involved in an innovative project run by the aid agency CARE that is aiming to give these girls and young women who were married too young – some in their very early teenage years – a second lease on life. Their experiences of marriage are often quite similar, typically involving arranged unions either preceded or accompanied by school dropout.

    The lessons learned from these often heartbreaking stories couldn’t be more relevant this week as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets with G8 Finance Ministers at the World Bank in Washington in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

    In my conversations with these young wives, most have told me that they are hungry to return to school. For child brides in Ethiopia and worldwide, school often represents much more than just a chance to learn. It opens the opportunity both to dream big and to achieve small milestones, like simply having friends their own age with whom to talk and laugh.

    The past two decades have seen a remarkable improvement in youth access to education throughout the world. More children and young adults are enrolled in school than perhaps at any point in human history. Yet despite these improvements, adolescent girls – especially those who are poor, living in a rural area, or belonging to a minority ethnic group – continue to miss out on the opportunity to go to school.

    The most recent data suggest that 39 million girls between 11 and 15 years old are out of school worldwide, with some estimates suggesting that the total for all adolescents (ages 11-19) is as high as 60 million. These girls more likely to suffer from poorer health, experience greater poverty and be exposed to higher levels of domestic violence. Meanwhile, the social stability, economic growth, and basic well-being of uneducated girls’ families, communities and societies are more likely to deteriorate.

    The evidence suggests that early marriage is certainly linked to school drop outs. However, it also shows that the main driver is much broader and much more difficult to address: entrenched, pervasive social norms that govern expectations about what girls can and will do with their lives – fueling both early marriage and school dropout. This isn’t to say that encouraging an emphasis on greater education for girls will not influence very early marriage, but rather, any attempt to address either educational outcomes or child marriage must begin by directly challenging social norms around gender.

    This is what the International Center for Research on Women is doing in partnership with CARE and other local organizations in Ethiopia, and it is working. We’ve found that providing married adolescent girls with the skills – through trainings and education – to effectively challenge social norms from within their own communities has proven to be a powerful tool of transformation for girls and their communities. This is particularly the case when paired with effective community engagement and support.

    Yes, there are many reasons why girls do not stay in school long enough to learn the critical skills they need in a world that increasingly demands formal educational qualifications. But the main reason is simply because they are girls.

    We can begin changing this on a much larger scale by working with whole communities and involving parents, religious or traditional leaders, and other influential community members, as these individuals have the greatest direct influence on girls’ aspirations and behavior. Programs aimed at improving the lives of adolescent girls should be integrated, focusing on building girls’ health, their access to social support and economic opportunities, and above all should address expectations about the roles of girls and women in society. Economic interventions must develop realistic options for girls that boost their chances at staying in school and delaying marriage.

    Finally, let’s not forget to work with girls who are already married, like those I visited in Ethiopia’s Amhara region; they have largely fallen off the radar of many policymakers and lie almost completely outside of any government support systems. Meanwhile, if current trends hold, an estimated 142 million adolescent girls will marry over the next decade. Let’s work to provide these girls with a chance to return to school and develop the skills and support networks that they deserve – and have the right to experience.

    Jeff Edmeades is a Child Marriage Researcher for the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, DC.

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    Diaspora Doctors to Start Specialized Hospital | Ethiopia’s Economy Benefiting From Emigrants Returning Home

    (Photo credit: Ethio-American Doctors Group)

    VOA News

    BY Marthe Van Der Wolf

    ADDIS ABABA — A group of 150 Ethiopian doctors living abroad are constructing a hospital in their home country that will offer state-of-the-art medical treatment. This new hospital is designed to reduce the number of Ethiopians seeking medical facilities abroad.

    The Ethio-American Doctors Group, an association of more than150 Ethiopian doctors in the diaspora, is realizing its dream: establishing an up-to-date hospital in their homeland that includes a medical school and a medical research center.

    Dr. Yonas Legessa Cherinet of the Doctors Group said the new hospital will feature 27 medical specialties that currently are not offered in Ethiopia.

    “There are a varieties of fields where service is very limited here. I could mention vascular surgery, urology, pulmonology, neuro-surgery and reproductive endocrinology, which is not available. So many doctors are coming in with so many specialities, there will be a core group of these specialists who will be coming here to lead some departments, to work here,” said Yonas.

    The Doctors Group hopes that fewer Ethiopians will go abroad for medical help if they can be treated inside the country.

    Currently, many Ethiopians that can afford better treatment go to Asia, the Middle East and South Africa. The Bangkok Hospital in Thailand treated more than 6,000 Ethiopians in 2011 alone. A lot of money is involved, as the average treatment costs about $20,000.

    Dr. Zelelam Abebe, who works in a private clinic in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, said there is a large need for first-class medical services in the country.

    “I had to refer several people to hospitals abroad for different cardiac surgeries, brain surgery and advanced cancer cases,” he said.

    Dr. Yonas said that providing for Ethiopians who might otherwise go abroad means the hospital will have to be run differently – and better – compared to most other facilities in the country.

    “The reasons they mention [for going abroad] vary from the quality of care to the way they are treated in respect. So we want to bring a new culture here of medical care, which will be patient-centered,” said Yonas.

    But with an average yearly income of $1,200, most Ethiopians will not be able to afford the treatments offered at the new facility. Yonas said money will be raised for those in financial need.

    ”We also have what we call the EDG fund, which will be taking 10 percent of our profit for people who cannot afford quality service,” he said.

    Tariku Assefa is a general practicing doctor who works at the Black Lion Hospital, the largest hospital in Ethiopia, which also includes a medical school. He welcomes the idea of the new hospital, but hopes the new research facility will focus on diseases prevalent in Ethiopia.

    “We use most of the research that were done in the western countries. We take example from America or other western countries because those research is done there. In most of the disease entity we don’t have our own figures, we use the figures of other people, which is somehow biased because the one which is in the West may not work for us,” said Tariku.

    The hospital is scheduled to open its doors by 2016 and employ 300 to 400 people, of whom 50 will be physicians. Some doctors from the diaspora will return to Ethiopia, while others will commit several weeks per year to an exchange of knowledge with the hospital.

    Ethiopia’s Economy Benefits from Returning Diaspora (Public Radio International)

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    World Bank Selects Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya In New Health Study

    Image credit: RDI

    Ventures Africa Magazine

    Updated: February 18th, 2013

    VENTURES AFRICA – Global development agency World Bank is examining Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and 19 other countries around the globe for a study on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

    According to the Bank, the 22 countries were selected as samples that have significantly expanded access to health care within the last decade, with the aim of providing fiscal solutions to healthcare challenges and helping countries make more informed health policies.

    The other countries are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam.


    Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Norway Co-host First GETHealth Summit at the U.N. (TADIAS)

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    Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Norway Co-host First Global Education & Technology Health Summit

    The global education and technology health (GETHealth) summit was held at the United Nations in New York from February 6- 7th, 2013. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Monday, February 11, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) – The first Global Education and Technology Health Summit was held at the United Nations in New York last week, which brought together academics, social entrepreneurs, distance learning experts, physicians, business leaders and ministers of health for a talk on the impact of mobile technologies to improve global health.

    The summit was organized by Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education and Global Partnerships Forum and co-hosted by the International Telecommunication Union as well as the governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Norway.

    Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Neurologist and Founder of People to People (P2P) global network was a panelist discussing information and communications technologies, and the patient versus provider relationship. Citing his organization’s work, Mehari described the People to People as being founded on the principle of triangular partnership consisting of “the mother country (Africa), the Diaspora, and Western institutions.” The main effort is to “implement programs that contribute to closing the gap through education, training, and research,” Mehari told Tadias in a later interview. An example of such a program was an emergency medicine initiative coordinated by People to People, Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, and Wisconsin University as well as a neurology program at Black Lion Hospital in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.

    Another panelist, Ms. Amy Lockwood, Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University, supported Mehari and the role that individuals from the Diaspora can play by noting that pilots implemented by NGOs or student interns are short-term and don’t help to form the deeper, and more meaningful connections needed to scale and grow programs. “When you are a member of the Diaspora you have an umbilical cord” she said and urged practitioners to move towards implemented innovative projects with the support and collaboration of diaspora resources.

    Dr. Seble Frehywot, Principal Investigator of the MEPI Coordinating Center at George Washington University also presented on the topic of creating centers of excellence for ICT in health education and research training that would likewise serve as hubs of innovation.

    Ethiopian Diaspora physicians participating in the summit included Dr. Senait Fisseha from the University of Michigan who is both a doctor and lawyer by training and is involved in global health activities in collaboration with medical schools in Ethiopia. She felt the summit was “an interesting meeting looking at the impact of technology to improve health care services as well as global medical education,” but also pointed out that she “would like to see more healthcare providers and stakeholders at this meeting as well as diaspora from all African and Asian countries who really have a vested interest in addition to NGOs and funders.” She travels once a month to Ethiopia to oversee projects that are currently being developed on the ground.

    On the topic of leveraging mobile technology to strengthen health systems, Dr. Ferew Lemma Feyissa, Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, told Tadias that the summit has enabled them to network and meet with various technology company representatives including from Dell and Verizon who have shown interest in working with them as private sector partners. An area of health that Ethiopian Ministry of Health is primarily focused on is improving maternal and child health outcomes, and expanding emergency obstetric care at the district level. Dr. Feyissa notes that Ministry is also using mobile technology tools to “help us enhance the skills of health extension workers in the primary health care unit.” In the future, Ethiopia also hopes to use mobile health to address chronic care and to support the vastly expanded medical education system in Ethiopia.

    During the ministerial addresses, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admazu Birhane, described the three-tier health system, which is comprised of health centers and community health extension workers. “We consider our community health extension program as a pillar of our health system,” he said. “And through this program we have trained and deployed 38,000 health extension workers, with two workers per village.” Most of these professionals are women who have been “tasked to do health promotion, disease prevention, and provide basic curative services,” he added. The four areas of support for them include data exchange, improving supply chain so that workers are receiving supplies on a continuous basis, and using mobile technology to improve both communication between the community health extension workers and labs and hospitals. One outcome of this program is that “we have seen an increase in antenatal visits as well as an increase in institutional delivery rates,” Dr. Birhane said, citing the use of mobile technology to reduce maternal mortality in Ethiopia. “So the challenge is to have the same quality of success at scale.”

    Similarly, the Director of e-health at the Rwandan Ministry of Health said his nation has three community health workers per 75,000 villagers, which exceeds the goal of the million community health worker campaign for Sub-Saharan Africa announced by President Paul Kagame, Novartis CEO Joseph Jiminez, and Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs this past January at the World Economic Forum.

    In addressing some of the current challenges faced, Dr. Birhane noted the recent expansion of Ethiopia’s medical schools from just three to 25 new medical schools. Dr. Birhane spoke of the difficulty in retention of physicians who leave and practice in other countries, and mentioned the initiative to increase medical school enrollment capacity from “150 five years ago to 3,000 this year.” The challenge is that “we don’t have enough faculty,” he said, “and that’s where technology will definitely help.”

    Dr. Wuleta Lemma, Director for the Center for Global Health Equity at Tulane University and Country Director for Tulane’s program in Ethiopia has been working for several years in Addis Ababa spearheading the development of a pre-service Master’s training program in health monitoring and evaluation, as well implementing an e-health and mobile health strategy called HealthNet in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

    Speaking of such efforts, Dr. Birhane said “we have tried to create a linkage between universities in Europe and the U.S. with our newer medical schools. And we have also created a network with the Ethiopian Diaspora.” He added, “I would like to call upon our partners here to work with us to really improve the quality of medical education in Ethiopia using information and communications technologies.”

    State Minister for Primary Health Care in Uganda, Ms. Sarah Opendi cited similar hardship in the retention of trained doctors in her country, noting physician preferences to work for higher pay in the private sector or abroad. Yet, by using mobile technologies, Uganda has improved service delivery and monitoring of medicines, and has better quality of data from monthly reports, as well as improved anonymous consultation services for HIV/AIDS patients through the national, toll-free hotline. Uganda has also “connected regional referral hospitals with the national hospital so that doctors can easily consult with their colleagues.”

    The Minister of State for Health in Nigeria, Dr. Alit Pate, shared with participants that his country has 65,000 registered health extension workers, but more initiative is needed, especially when it comes to evaluating the impact of using mobile technology to improve health outcomes. He mentioned an online portal for training midwives that initially received a lot of hits but then experienced a decline in submissions, and emphasized that incentives need to be put in place to encourage community health extension workers to continue submitting valuable data used for tracking progress.

    Incentives such as providing promotion opportunities for community health workers to supervisory levels, and providing access to medical education via distance learning modules to increase medical student enrollment and retention are just a few ways that Dr. Feyissa at the Ethiopian Ministry of Health hopes to build and maintain a trained health workforce. Uganda’s integrated use of an innovative health system tracking service known as IHRIS is yet another avenue for better monitoring and evaluation of health outcomes.

    The Summit also covered subjects such as health and media literacy, and leveraging social media to address issues including increasing organ donation. Sarah Wynn-Williams, Manager of Global Public Policy at Facebook informed the audience that the launch of Facebook organ donation profiles increased organ donation by 800% in California in the first week alone.

    Lee Wells, Head of Health Programs (Africa) at Vodaphone Foundation looked forward to translating the success of mobile money such as the M-Pesa system in Kenya to the mobile health sector. He stated that “last year, 25% of Kenya’s GDP was transferred via M-Pesa mobile system.” He emphasized “It’s low-cost, let’s use what’s already available.”

    Below are photos from the event:

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    In Pictures: Global Survey of Trachoma Eye Infections Begins in Ethiopia

    Genemo Abdela is one of the many surveyors responsible for examining almost 600,000 people in Ethiopia. (Photo: Sightsavers)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) – Global efforts to eliminate the most common infectious cause of blindness, trachoma, has taken an ambitious step forward as mapping of the disease began in Ethiopia last week. The global survey, funded by the UK government, aims to see a sample of four million people across more than 30 countries examined by March 2015 to identify where people are living at risk and where treatment programs are needed.

    According to a press release by Sightsavers, a British non-profit organization that heads the project, the blinding disease is already known to affect more than 21 million people but it is estimated that an additional 180 million people worldwide live in areas where trachoma is highly prevalent.

    The first survey started this week in Oromia, in central Ethiopia where 22 million people live in suspected endemic areas. Five-year-old Bigiltuu Kefeni, and her family from Keta Town in the region were among the first of four million people to be examined by a specially trained ophthalmic nurse. The availability of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in their village was also recorded, with all data captured on a smart phone.

    It is the first time that mobile data has been used to survey a global health issue on such a wide scale. The final data will be mapped and made available online at

    Mapping trachoma eye infections in Ethiopia – in pictures (The Guardian)

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    Looking Ahead to AIDS-Free Generation

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (AP)

    VOA News

    By Joe DeCapua

    2012 was a year when political leaders and top health officials freely spoke of attaining an AIDS-free generation. In November, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a blueprint for achieving that goal.

    Secretary Clinton said not long ago it would have been impossible to speak of an AIDS-free generation.

    “Now by an AIDS-free generation, I mean one where, first, virtually no children are born with the virus. Second, as these children become teenagers and adults they are at far lower risk of becoming infected than they would be today, thanks to a wide range of prevention tools. And third, if they do acquire HIV, they have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and passing the virus on to others,” she said.

    Mrs. Clinton made the comment in a speech at the National Institutes of Health. She said that HIV may be with us well into the future, but the disease that it causes need not be.”

    “Now, while the finish line is not yet in sight we know we can get there because now we know the route we need to take. It requires all of us to put a variety of scientifically proven prevention tools to work in concert with each other,” she said.

    Those tools include effective treatment, male circumcision, eliminating stigma and discrimination and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It’s a combination approach to stopping the spread of HIV.

    Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS advocacy group AVAC, applauds the U.S. blueprint for an AIDS-free generation.

    “That was by far the culmination of a great year. That blueprint, which she put out, really recommits the U.S. government to a bold agenda to both provide both direct support for treatment and for prevention around the world. It also throws down the challenge to countries all over the world to really step it up and join the U.S. government in this commitment,” he said.

    But Warren said bold speeches must be followed by bold actions.

    “2012 will certainly be remembered as the year when the conversation changed. The big question is will we see movement beyond just the conversation,” he said.

    Warren said besides outlining the immediate needs in fighting the epidemic, Mrs. Clinton’s address also highlighted the importance of scientific research.

    “The same research that got us to this point is just as important going forward, particularly around the search for a microbicide and the search for a vaccine and eventually a cure,” he said.

    In the last few years there’s been promising research in both vaccines and microbicides. However, follow-up studies are not expected to provide any findings until 2014 or later.

    “So it’s a longer term trajectory, a longer horizon, but the science is as exciting as it’s ever been in AIDS vaccines. And certainly we need to keep pushing for that longer term solution even as we deliver on the tools that we have today,” said warren.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the top U.S. scientists working on HIV/AIDS. He’s head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. At July’s International AIDS Conference in Washington, he said learning how HIV replicates revealed some of its weaknesses.

    “It’s that kind of basic science which brings us to the next step. And that is the step of interventions, predominantly in the arena of treatment and prevention,” he said.

    Dr. Fauci called for a “care continuum…That is seeking out, testing, linking to care, treating when eligible and making sure they adhere.”

    AVAC’s Mitchell Warren said the international AIDS conference held much promise. But 2013 will determine whether it’s a promise fulfilled.

    “If in mid-2013 or World AIDS Day 2013, we look back and say, wow, that conference told us it was possible and we blew it — we blew the opportunity of changing the way we did our work — then it will have been an enormous failure. 2013 needs to be the year that we really transition from rhetoric to reality. . 2013 needs to be the year that we really transition from rhetoric to reality,” he said.

    As the New Year begins, an unwelcome realty will be continued tight international spending, as many advocates hope to gear up research, treatment and prevention.
    Audio: Listen to De Capua report on HIV in 2012

    Ethiopia Moving to Address Doctor Shortage; Critics Say Corners Being Cut

    Photo credit: Ethiopian Medical Students' Association (EMSA)

    Public Radio International

    Ethiopia has struggled with a shortage of qualified doctors for years. In an effort to resolve that, it’s vastly increased the sizes of existing classes and opened 13 new schools. But critics say Ethiopia is training a generation of woefully unqualified doctors.

    Click here to listen to this report.

    The pediatrics wing of St. Paul’s Hospital in Addis Ababa is a busy place. Nervous parents move in and out, waiting for their kids to be seen.

    There aren’t a lot of doctors here, but there is one group of people that seems to be everywhere: young, white-coated medical students.

    Until recently, Ethiopia had just one physician for every 100,000 people, but now the country is dramatically increasing the number of doctors it produces.

    This year, the government opened 13 new medical schools, which more than doubled the number in the country. Ethiopia has also been increasing enrollment at existing schools.

    “This year, for the first time, we enrolled 3,100 medical students, which is almost tenfold compared to what we used to enroll five, six years ago,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, who until recently served as minister of health.

    Tedros says Ethiopia’s severe physician shortage is one of the country’s most pressing concerns.

    Watch: A Glimpse Inside an Ethiopian Medical School

    Read more at PRI.

    Report From Second Community Forum on Mental Health – Video

    The second community forum on mental health took place on Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at the Shaw Neighborhood Library in D.C. (Image credit: Filmstock Inc)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tsedey Aragie

    Updated: Friday, December 21, 2012

    Washington, DC (TADIAS) – Last week I hosted the second public forum on mental health here in Washington, D.C. The interactive get-together attracted over 100 participants from across the country who joined the conversation via conference call as well as an online live stream channel in addition to those who attended in person at the Shaw Neighborhood Library.

    I am happy to report that it was another fruitful and educational event. My only regret is that we ran out of time before we could cover all the speakers because we did not assign and monitor time segments properly, which we will fix next time.

    One of the key point that was repeatedly emphasized at the meeting was the need to incorporate religious leaders in this dialogue as well as in the treatment and healing process for individuals. There are studies that show that the close knit and communal nature of our culture does play a protective role in preventing mental illness.

    As tax payers we do have the right to vocalize the importance of including natural remedies to be recognized as part of the treatment plan by lobbying the appropriate government agencies that write the policies governing health service providers.

    It was also noted that there is an abundance of health professionals among the Ethiopian & Eritrean populations in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, but that talent pool is under-utilized. Often medical professionals are at the forefront of this fight and if given the proper training could recognize any ongoing mental health issues as they are developing, most importantly as it relates to substance abuse and addiction.

    We also learned that the World Health Organization has partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to implement a Mental Health program in Ethiopia that could also be used as a resource.

    The impact of Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD), which is commonly found among war veterans in this country, is another mental health problem that affects immigrants who have witnessed violence in close proximity, and how detrimental these effects are on a person’s psychological well-being, especially for those who have experienced violence in the Horn of Africa. Another issue raised was the impact of political oppression and how it affects an individual’s psychological makeup.

    We also received an update from the working-team that was tasked to conduct research. The advocacy-group is led by the organization “My Love in Action” and they are to come up with a needs assessment survey, and create outreach programs geared towards collaborating with organizations that work with professionals in the behavioral science fields, including educational institutions, as well as student associations. They are making progress but they need your help so please get involved.

    Sadly, our event took place the day following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut where a 20-year-old gunman shot and killed 26 people – mostly children – at Sandy Hook Elementary School before committing suicide himself. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims’ families.

    Below is a short video featuring clips from the “Second Community Forum on Mental Health” held on Saturday December 15th. I will keep you posted on future gatherings. In the meantime, you can follow updates on twitter @MyLoveInAction.

    Watch: Clips from the “Second Community Forum on Mental Health” held on December 15th

    Community Forum II on Mental Health Announcement
    Interview With Dr. Welansa Asrat About Mental Health Taboo in the Ethiopian Community

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    Interview With Filmmaker Brenda Davis

    Still photograph from the movie 'Sister," which tells the story of health workers in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti whose daily work is to help women give birth. (Photo: Family at a district hospital in Tigray, Ethiopia/Image credit: Swati Guild)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tigist Selam

    Updated: Sunday, December 16, 2012

    New York (TADIAS) – Earlier this month I attended one of the screenings of the documentary film Sister as part of the recently concluded African Diaspora International Film Festival here in New York.

    An intimate portrait of a universal topic, the documentary frames maternal and newborn death as a human rights issue while shedding light on the faces behind the statistics. The film takes place in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti as it explores innovative ways to deliver healthcare to childbearing women in remote parts of the world. The main characters are a Haitian traditional birth attendant, an Ethiopian male health officer, and a rural midwife in Cambodia.

    The filmmaker, who is a Canadian citizen and a resident of New York City for the past 20 years, said she chose to highlight Ethiopia because the country is trying “new strategies and local solutions” to tackle the issue. “I am especially fascinated by Ethiopian healthcare professionals who used to be field medics during the civil war in the North who have now been retrained with further skills for civilian work.”

    “In 2008, I was documenting a heath record training for health workers from Africa and Asia,” Brenda said. “I spent 3 weeks with them and involved in several activities including filming lectures in the city. One of the attendees was a health-care officer from Ethiopia named Goitom Berhane. When I got home and started transcribing their stories I found myself just weeping. And I told myself I have to make a movie about this.” Berhane eventually ends up being prominently featured in the film.

    “The subject has been floating around me my whole life,” she continued. “As a child, my grandmother Martha had 16 children and only 11 lived and one of them was my mom.” She added: “And I was born by an emergency cesarian. I was the last of eight children.”

    Brenda said that she finds parallels to her own family story and what most young women face in developing countries today. “There is a great research paper called ‘Under the Shadow of Maternity’ about childbirth and women’s lives in North America at the turn of the last century and the issues were the same. My grandmother was giving birth to stillborn babies between 1919 and 1939. People did not have all the resources, all the information; they did not know, they did not ask the right questions. It was a mystery to them. They were poor, they did not have access to family planning.”

    Brenda’s interest is to document “current and local solutions” to the age-old health problem.

    For news and updates about the film follow @Sister_Doc on Twitter, SisterDocumentary on Facebook, or visit:

    Watch the teaser trailer here

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    Ethiopia Introduces Health-Care Service Via Phone

    Photo credit: UNAMID/flickr

    VOA News

    Marthe Van Der Wolf

    ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia is launching medical services over the phone. A young Ethiopian doctor is starting the service in an attempt to improve access to health care across the country.

    “HelloDoctor” is Ethiopia’s first general medical hotline, in which a small fee is taken from a person’s mobile phone credit to receive medical advice or request home-care service.

    Dr. Yohans Wodaje is the young Ethiopian doctor who founded HelloDoctor. He said that healthcare services for the average Ethiopian will improve through the new service, as there are not enough doctors and clinics for the whole population.

    “Despite the huge improvement that Ethiopia made in the past 10 years regarding health coverage in its attempt to make universal basic health coverage a reality of the Ethiopian people, there are still many big challenges,” he said. “And you have a very few number of highly skilled, highly specialized professionals, then you definitely need to link technology with those professionals to multiply the effect that they would have.”

    Phone consultations

    Getting medical advice by phone has happened in the United States, Canada, Australia and more recently also in parts of Latin America and Asia. A common question about the practice is whether doctors can give adequate advice without seeing the patient.

    Wodaje agreed that face-to-face consultations are preferable. He said, though, that it is not always realistic in Ethiopia.

    “We opt for phone-based consultations in situations, especially if you have to travel long distances to get to a health facility, if you have to wait in long lines to get to a health professional,” he said. “And also, the professionals you need may not always be of the level that is required to help you.”

    An average conversation lasts four minutes and costs about $2, which is still a lot of money for most Ethiopians. But a visit to a clinic, including transportation costs when living outside the city, usually adds up to $15.

    Physicians prepared

    The doctors working for the service are mostly in their late 20s. It provides them with extra employment, something the government might welcome because many doctors today pursue careers abroad.

    Anteneh Kassahun plans to become one of the doctors for the service. He feels it gives him more opportunities.

    “The first thing is, we will help our country, especially those who live in rural areas, they don’t get doctors. So when they need the health information they can call us and right away we will support them,” said Kassahun. “The second thing is we have jobs in different hospitals and clinics, so we do it in our free time. The third thing is we get other training, especially how to talk to people, how to communicate with people and other things. And the fourth thing is we get extra money.”

    Vast medical need

    The Ethiopian government has employed 10 times as many health extension workers in recent years, but there is still a long way to go before everybody in the country can easily access health care.

    Ahmed Emano of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said that Ethiopia needs the involvement of private initiatives to improve health-care services in the country.

    “If you take the private clinics in Addis Ababa, there are 2,015 health services in Addis Ababa only. From this, about 60 percent – more than 60 percent – are private services,” said Emano. “So the government is already supporting all private partners and we establish public-private partnership with private service givers, so especially when we say the high level and some specialized services, we give support to private people who can afford to establish this type of services in the country.”

    The World Health Organization recommends that in any country there should be no less than one doctor for every 10,000 citizens. Ethiopia currently has one doctor employed for every 33,500 people.

    The pressure on health services in Ethiopia is due to increase as the population – now at 85 million – continues growing rapidly. Also, people in rural areas generally lack access to health care, and 84 percent of Ethiopians live in the rural parts of the country.

    Related from VOA News:
    Ethiopia Introduces Mobile Banking
    Despite Fast Growth, Ethiopia Still Plagued by Poverty

    Read more news at VOA.

    Community Forum on Mental Health – Saturday December 15th

    Speakers at 'Community Forum on Mental Health' held in Washington, DC on August 25, 2012. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tsedey Aragie

    Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Washington, DC (TADIAS) – The issue of mental health and how we deal with it in our community has once again come to the forefront following a string of tragic incidents over the past year, including suicides and murders, that have saddened and shocked many families.

    This past August I hosted a community forum in Washington, DC to learn from these tragedies and explore solutions. The gathering resulted in establishing an advocacy-group that was tasked to conduct research, come-up with needs assessment survey, and create outreach programs geared towards collaborating with organizations that work with professionals in the behavioral science fields, including educational institutions, as well as student associations.

    I will be moderating a follow-up conversation on the topic next weekend as we continue the discussion surrounding the hidden mental illness crisis affecting members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities here in the U.S. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday December 15th at Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Neighborhood Library in D.C. We have some great speakers, but your feedback is going to be very valuable.

    For those of you who live outside Washington, you can still partake via a conference call (see info below) or follow the discussion live online.

    Conference Call access: 213.226.0400, PIN# 939807

    If You Go:
    Community Forum II- Mental Health
    Saturday December 15th
    Shaw Library
    1630 7th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
    Watch a Live Stream of the event at the scheduled time at:
    Follow us on twitter @ MyLoveInAction

    Interview With Dr. Welansa Asrat About Mental Health Taboo in the Ethiopian Community

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    Science Blog: Ethiopians, Tibetans Thrive in Thin Air Using Different Genes

    Photo: Ethiopian runners train in high altitude. (Selamta Magazine)

    Science Blog

    Scientists say they have pinpointed genetic changes that allow some Ethiopians to live and work more than a mile and a half above sea level without getting altitude sickness.

    The specific genes differ from those reported previously for high-altitude Tibetans, even though both groups cope with low-oxygen in similar physiological ways, the researchers report. If confirmed, the results may help scientists understand why some people are more vulnerable to low blood oxygen levels caused by factors other than altitude — such as asthma, sleep apnea, heart problems or anemia — and point to new ways to treat them, the researchers say.

    Living with less

    Lower air pressure at high altitude means fewer oxygen molecules for every breath. “At 4000 meters, every lungful of air only has 60% of the oxygen molecules that people at sea level have,” said co-author Cynthia Beall of Case Western Reserve University.

    To mop up scarce oxygen from thin air, travelers to high altitude compensate by making more hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of human blood. But high hemoglobin comes with a cost. Over the long term, excessive hemoglobin can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and chronic mountain sickness, a disease characterized by thick and viscous blood.

    “Altitude affects your thinking, your breathing, and your ability to sleep. But high-altitude natives don’t have these problems,” said Beall, who has studied high altitude adaptation in different populations in Ethiopia, Peru and Tibet for more than 20 years. “They don’t wheeze like we do. Their thinking is fine. They sleep fine. They don’t complain of headaches. They’re able to live a healthy life, and they do it completely comfortably,” she added.

    Click here to

    Ambassadors for Health: Primary Medical Care in Ethiopia

    Health extension workers at the Sululta health centre are helping increase the number of babies who receive vaccination against deadly diseases. (Photograph: Petterik Wiggers/Panos)

    The Guardian

    By Evelyn Owen

    Skilled and respected workers have revolutionised neighbourhood healthcare in Ethiopia – using a model other countries could follow. Evelyn Owen discovers how the programme works and the problems it has confronted

    In the hubbub of the vaccination clinic, young mother Damanech Alemu waits patiently with a tiny blue bundle nestled in her arms. Six-week-old Ermias is about to receive the injections that will safeguard him against an array of common diseases, including diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.

    “I’m glad to be here, because it means healthy development and a safe life for my son,” Alemu says afterwards, comforting her baby. “I made an appointment, I came here, and I received the service, so I’m happy about that.”

    Alemu’s trip to Sululta health centre might sound perfectly ordinary, but less than a quarter of Ethiopian children under the age of two are fully vaccinated. The service offered here, 20 miles north of Addis Ababa, is only possible thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of the women in white coats bustling about the clinic, preparing needles, checking charts and filling in forms. They are health extension workers (HEWs) – the backbone of Ethiopia’s health system.

    Read more at The Guardian.

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    Battling Cancer in Ethiopia: Interview with Cancer Survivor Tsige Birru-Benti

    Photo courtesy of the London-based non-profit organization BCE (Battling Cancer in Ethiopia).

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012

    New York (TADIAS) – While October is designated as international Breast Cancer Awareness Month, cancer screening in Ethiopia is almost nonexistent, says cancer survivor Mrs. Tsige Birru-Benti, who is one of the founders of BCE (Battling Cancer in Ethiopia), a U.K. based charity organization that promotes early cancer screening in Ethiopia as well as raises funds for the Black Lion Hospital Cancer Center in Addis Ababa.

    “The short term objective is to equip the Oncology Unit of the Black Lion Hospital (BLH) by raising fund to buy CT Simulators that benefit cancer treatment planning,” Tsige said. “The long term objective is to work with other institutions in Ethiopia to create awareness among the urban and rural population regarding the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

    According to Tsige the Oncology Unit at BLH currently has approximately 6,000 cancer patients, with only 3 specialist doctors. “Every year the unit takes at least 2,000 newly diagnosed patients but the waiting time to start treatment is usually more than 6 months,” she said. “In the meantime a large number of patients die without any help or any source of pain relief.”

    As to her own battle with the disease, Tsige shared: “Being a cancer survivor, I can testify to the suffering that I went through and what it means to be relieved from pain and the importance of proper medical care. In January 2010, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma B-Cell grade 2 cancer. Being in London, where facilities are in place my treatment was on the fast track and commenced within a month. I went through 6 cycles of chemotherapy and 2 cycles of Rituximab. At the end of July 2010 I had finished all my medical treatment and thank God now I am enjoying good health once again.”

    Tsige said her wish is for all cancer patients in Ethiopia to have the same access to professional medical care as she did during her illness in England. “There is a lack of awareness about cancer in Ethiopia compared to other chronic diseases that are widely publicized. Therefore, when people begin to develop symptoms, more often than not, they tend to resort to traditional medicine.”

    Regarding BCE, she added: “We plan to knock on every door to spread cancer awareness in Ethiopia and raise funds to reach our goal. As the Amharic saying goes ‘hamsa lomi leand sew shekmu new lehamsa sew gen getu new‘ (50 lemons are a load for one individual but for 50 individuals each lemon is like an accessory). This is what is required of Ethiopians worldwide, to be united as hand-to-a-glove for this project.”

    We commend Tsige on her initiative for better cancer screening and services and encourage you to visit the BCE website to learn more.

    Gomen for Breakfast?

    In the following Health Section piece Nesanet Abegaze shares the benefits of green juice. She is a certified yoga teacher, and health educator with a focus on vegan food preparation. She works as an executive at an entertainment company in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Gaby Dalkin)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Nesanet Teshager Abegaze

    Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) – Summer is officially here, and while everybody loves the sunshine, some of us are coming to terms with the fact that our New Years Resolutions never made it past January. This can bring on a sense of alarm as the layers of clothing come off, and may lead us to desperate measures (i.e.- drinking lemonade with berbere for 10 days). While these quick fixes are tempting, and may help us squeeze into an outfit for a special event, they aren’t sustainable.

    Rather than beat ourselves up for not sticking with our New Years resolutions, we can look at summer as a time to recommit to our health and fitness plan. With the warmer temperature, we naturally crave lighter foods, making this a great time to transition to a diet with more fresh foods. In my own life, adding small manageable practices into my daily routine has been very fruitful (pun intended)! One of my favorite additions to my diet this year has been green smoothies, which I drink almost daily.

    While green smoothies may look a little like a failed attempt at gomen, they are delicious and have numerous health benefits. They are simply a liquid base blended with fruit and leafy greens. When consumed first thing in the morning, green smoothies give you a natural energy boost, and will help you get that summer glow in no time.

    *Very nutrient dense and a great source of plant based protein
    *Chlorophyll aids in detoxification/blood purification.
    * Easily digestible vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants provide increased energy
    *High fiber content promotes colon health and keeps you full
    *Help you stay hydrated
    *Balance blood sugar and reduces cravings for sweets, salts, and junk food
    *Consuming greens in the form of green smoothies reduces the consumption of oils and salt found in salad dressing

    When I started experimenting with green smoothies, I simply added spinach or kale to my fruit smoothies. Over time, I’ve gotten much more creative, and tapped into recipes from Green Smoothie advocates such as Kimberly Snyder and Victoria Boutenko.

    I love the recipe below and make it every morning before work, modifying it based on what’s available at my local farmers market. I’ve shared it with my loved ones, and my co-workers and family members are all hooked. In fact, my 2 year-old nephew whips out his cup as soon as he sees me pull out leafy greens, and my office manager recently purchased a Vitamix blender for the office.

    Green Smoothie Recipe:

    4 cups water

    1 bunch of your favorite greens (kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are my favorites)

    2 stalks celery

    2 small cucumbers

    2 apples

    2 bananas

    Juice of 1 lemon

    1 cup ice

    Optional: 2 inch slice of fresh ginger (great for digestion!)

    Serves 2-3 people.

    A lot of these ingredients are probably already in your fridge (think salata minus the karya). Drink regularly and everyone will think you’ve just returned from vacation in Awassa or Bahir Dar!
    Shiro, The Sure Thing: Why It’s Good For You

    Yared Tekabe Uses Molecular Imaging for Early Detection of Heart Disease

    Dr. Yared Tekabe runs studies in cardiovascular disease detection and prevention at Columbia University. (Photo: Tekabe at his office at William Black building in upper Manhattan - Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    New York (TADIAS) – In Spring 2009, we featured Dr. Yared Tekabe’s groundbreaking work on non-invasive atherosclerosis detection and molecular imaging, which was published in the American Heart Association´s journal, Circulation. As in most chronic heart disease conditions, the plaque that accumulates in blood vessels is usually not detected until it leads to serious, and often fatal, blockages of blood supply such as during an episode of heart attack or stroke. Having received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health Tekabe’s research focused on the use of novel molecular imaging techniques to identify sites of inflammation that can help us with early detection of atherosclerosis.

    In 2010, his work was highlighted in Osborn & Jaffer’s review entitled “The Year in Molecular Imaging,” noting that Tekabe and colleagues had developed a tracer that imaged RAGE — a receptor for advanced glycation end products, which is implicated in a host of inflammation-related diseases including artherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and alzheimer’s. Tekabe’s group, along with his colleague Dr. Ann Marie Schmidt, holds a patent for this RAGE-directed imaging technology.

    Tekabe’s lab also used similar imaging technology to detect RAGE in mouse models who had artifically-induced ischemia (restriction of blood supply) in their left anterior descending coronary artery, which is the main supplier of blood to the left ventricle. When blood supply is restored (reperfusion), the sudden change may also cause further inflammation and tissue damage from impact. By being able to trace RAGE and pathways of inflammation using molecular imaging techniques, Tekabe has demonstrated that the highest RAGE expressing cells were the injured heart muscle cells undergoing programmed cell death.

    Tekabe’s research in myocardial ischemic/reperfusion injury showed that RAGE could be traced in areas of inflammation in a non-invasive manner in live mouse subjects. The findings were presented at the 2011 World Molecular Imaging Congress scientific session, and was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in January 2012. An editorial entitled ‘Visualizing the RAGE: Molecular Imaging After MI Provides Insight Into a Complex Receptor” accompanied Tekabe’s article, and emphasized that Tekabe’s research “continues to provide a solid foundation and proof of concept” that non-invasive imaging of RAGE following induced myocardial ischemia “is feasible” in live subjects.

    Tekabe’s findings also have important implications for future antibody therapy formulations that can be used to treat RAGE-related chronic conditions. Tekabe hopes to translate his studies on mouse models to larger mammals and eventually to humans. Molecular imaging studies such as the one Tekabe has undertaken are critical in prevention of chronic cardiac conditions and could potentially decrease the number of sudden deaths from heart attack as it may allow physicians to make early and life-saving diagnoses.

    When asked if there was anything else that he’d like to share with our readers, Dr. Tekabe replied, “Oh yes, since childhood, apart from my research, I’ve always wanted to involve myself in an Ethiopian movie, acting as the main character. Like in a love story. I hope to do this someday.”

    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease (TADIAS – March 17th, 2009)

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    Shiro, The Sure Thing: Why It’s Good For You

    In this piece Dr. Asqual Getaneh, an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Columbia University in New York, looks at the health benefits of "shiro." (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Dr. Asqual Getaneh

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    New York (TADIAS) – Whether or not it is made from toasted or raw beans, cooked thick or thin, spiced up or buttered, shiro along with other legumes is perhaps the most nourishing, ubiquitous and affordable dish in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, shiro appears less frequently on dinner tables as a result of economic and social success. The trend is an irrational and en masse adoption of Western commercial diets (along with culture and politics); yet, the same diets are the main culprits for the growing health problem in the U.S. and Europe. We grab on fistfuls of processed foods in beautifully designed packets in lieu of our traditional diet. In this, we, Ethiopians, are not alone. Very few traditions have successfully resisted the marketing lure and the temptation of colorfully wrapped easy-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals. It does not help, that no one celebrates with shiro and that it is used to express pity or religious compunction. As a result, shiro recedes even further from our esteem and creative culinary imaginations.

    Against this tide, we would like to argue that shiro and other legumes should be celebrated victuals in Ethiopian households (and non-Ethiopian households) for the following reasons. First, shiro is a healthy source of both macro-and micro-nutrients. Depending on regional preferences, a typical shiro dish is made from one of three legumes, broad (fava) beans, chick peas (garbanzo) or round peas, or as in the current trend, from flour mixture of all three beans. Although there are some differences in nutrient content, each of these legumes is a low fat source of protein, carbohydrate, fiber, iron and folate, among numerous other vitamins and minerals.

    For those of you worried about getting adequate protein from beans, according to the USDA the average woman and man require 46 grams and 51 grams of protein per day respectively. However, for elite athletes the daily requirement is as high as 1.37 grams per kilograms of body weight per day. A cup of shiro provides about 16.3 grams of protein. Compare this with 20 grams of protein in a serving of chicken breast, 19 grams in salmon and 22 grams in beef steak.

    Second, shiro is usually served with tomato salad and vegetables such as collard greens (gomen), cabbage, or string beans and carrot (fasolia), dishes that are rich in vitamin A and C. In addition gomen and cabbage have vitamin K and folate and are filled with phytochemicals including diindolymethane, and sulforaphane — antioxidants that boost the body’s cancer fighting potential. Carrots and tomatoes have carotenoids and tomatoes contain lycopene — a specific type of carotenoid that has a strong antioxidant property. When mixed with berbere, shiro provides additional vitamin A.

    Shiro as many other Ethiopian dishes is never eaten without injera, preferably injera made of teff -a super grain that rivals quinoa in its proportional protein and superior calcium and iron content. In sufficient quantities, Teff also provides a third of the daily requirement for riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and other micronutrients. Those of us living in the United States and outside of the Washington DC area, are not lucky enough to easily obtain teff-based injera and have to resort to various other combinations that are not as nutritious and that can be more calorie dense than teff-based injera. So, when consuming non-teff based injera, it is prudent to assess calorie and carbohydrate content, especially if one is concerned about obesity, metabolic diseases or have diabetes.

    Third, “shiro yum!”. Ok, we may be shooting for the stars trying to sell creamy delicious shiro to kurt-loving readers and during the holiday season. But get into your meditative zone and consider all the possible flavors in shiro like coriander, cardamom, garlic, and berbere; also visualize other bean dishes like buticha, yeshimbra asa and ful. And, if only for an interesting addition to your bean dish cornucopia, foray into the unique land of hilbet, boquilt, siljo, or gulban. I guarantee if not your taste buds your body will be tingling happily. To err is human, so if you are not convinced enough to have shiro and other legumes frequently, we hope that this will at least engage your culinary imagination to include shiro in some form in your diet.

    In sum, shiro is a great source of protein; and when combined with vegetables and tomato salad shiro-based meals provide almost all of the average daily requirements of folate, vitamin A, C and K. Include the goodness of teff and the meal will have additional micronutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin B6. For individuals concerned about carbohydrates, injera made of teff has low glycemia load by virtue of its proportional fiber and protein content (estimated glycemia load of 84 for a cup of uncooked teff, compare this to 104 for a cup of uncooked rice). Add the antioxidant properties of carotenoids and phytochemicals, and shiro and its accompaniments are now in the realm of food-as-medicine. Above all shiro tastes heavenly. At a minimum, we should curb our flight into the dizzying glitter of substitute foods, even as many in the West reverse their course through the growing slow, organic, farm-to-table and locovore food movements.

    Our Beef with Kitfo: Are Ethiopians in America Subscribing to the Super Sizing of Food?

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    GHCG Announces 4th Medical Mission to Ethiopia

    The Ethio-American NGO Gemini Health Care Group says it's ready for its upcoming medical mission to Ethiopia.

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    New York (Tadias) – Gemini Health Care Group (GHCG), a U.S.-based Ethiopian American NGO that focuses on pediatric training and assistance to medical professionals in Ethiopia, launched its 4th annual educational and medical mission in March 2011.

    “Beginning on March 18th, the GHCC Board members as well as eighteen health care professionals will be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to provide teaching and service,” says Dr. Ebba K. Ebba, the group’s Founder and President. “The pediatric sub-specialists in the areas of pediatric ENT, Ophthalmology, Audiology, Anesthesia, and Urology will be providing training and medical assistance at Black Lion Hospital, Cure Hospital and Mekanissa School for the Deaf. This portion of the medical mission is being organized in collaboration with Healing the Children, Greater Philadelphia Chapter.”

    During the team’s last trip to Addis they treated young people including 8-year-old Zemen Toshome, whose story was highlighted by Opinion Columnist Harold Jackson in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Jackson wrote: “For more than six years, Zemen has lived at Tikur Anbesa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa. He goes outside only briefly on the hospital grounds. He can’t shout because of his medical condition. Zemen has laryngeal papillomatosis, a disease in which tumors grow inside the larynx, vocal cords, or respiratory tract. The disease occurs when the human papillomavirus (HPV) is transferred from a mother to her child at birth. The tumors can grow quickly and cause difficulty in breathing, which if not corrected can lead to death.”

    “The second part of our medical mission includes a one‐week educational mission to pediatric residents and medical students at the Black Lion Hospital as well as to other community pediatricians,” Dr. Ebba says. “We have recruited four pediatric specialists in the areas of pediatric Pulmonology, Endocrinology, Neurology and Emergency medicine to be participants at the First Annual Pediatrics by the Nile.”

    The latter is a medical education conference to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference, which is being co‐sponsored by the Ethiopian Pediatric Society, is scheduled to take place on Thursday March 31, 2011 and Friday, April 1, 2011 at the Addis Ababa Hilton.

    You can learn more about Gemini Health Care Group at:

    Cover photo courtesy of GHCG.

    Video: Dr. Ebba K. Ebba, Founder of Gemini Health Care Group, on 50 in 52 interview (2009)

    Reducing Childbirth Injuries In Ethiopia

    Above: ‘Today Show’ correspondent Jenna Bush Hager travels to
    Ethiopia to shine light on maternal health. (Photo: Screen shot)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    New York (Tadias) – “It is the oldest medical cause in the world. There is currency dug out of pyramids containing images of fistula, yet in the 21st century it is the most neglected cause,” Dr. Catherine Hamlin, Founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, said in an interview with Tadias Magazine a few years ago. She was speaking about a childbirth injury that affects one out of every 12 women in Africa and approximately three million women worldwide. In developing nations, such as Ethiopia, where access to hospitals in remote areas are difficult to find, young women suffer from obstructive labor and other childbirth related health issues, which can otherwise be successfully alleviated with adequate medical support. Unassisted labor in such conditions may lead to bladder, vaginal, and rectum injuries that incapacitate and stigmatize these women.

    In the following MSNBC ‘Today Show’ video, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager (the daughter of former President George W. Bush), travels to Ethiopia to shine light on maternal health. She focuses on the efforts underway by the non-profit organization CARE, in collaboration with local authorities, helping women to survive childbirth injuries. The segment makes the case for continued humanitarian U.S. assistance to reduce one of the world’s highest rates of maternal and infant mortalities. According to USAID, more than 500,000 women and girls in Ethiopia suffer from disabilities resulting from complications during pregnancy and childbirth each year, and over 25,000 women and girls die annually due to pregnancy–related complications.


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