International Fund for Africa
Issue: XIV
APRIL  2011
International Fund for Africa Newsletter
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UpComing Events

Otober 28 - November 8, 2011 International Fund for Africa Rural Medicine Project is sponsoring a medical mission to Zemero, Ethiopia.


May 19-22, 2011 International Fund for Africa Founder, Executive Director Anteneh Roba M.D., will speak at the International Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg.


June 4-12, 2011

International Fund for Africa will participate in the 13th Annual International Vegan Festival in Malaga, Spain.


Over 800 sick individuals treated 


The International Fund for Africa medical mission to Zemero, Ethiopia from March 24th to April 6th was overwhelmed.  This medical mission, headed by Dr. Anteneh Roba, IFA founder and executive director, was part of IFA's Rural Medicine Project and consisted of three doctors, one nurse practitioner, two registered nurses and two newly graduated nurses and two pharmacists. 



This medical mission was a very mixed bag of emotions: challenging, sad, upsetting, joyous, frustrating -- in a word, overwhelming! We arrived to find over 5,000 people waiting to see us. A mother, 8 months pregnant walked three days, as did many of the people, with her two-year-old child to see us. Some of these people were blind, some near blind, some old, some carrying babies, a few carrying sick people, many of them hungry, malnourished and plain tired. All of them were dirt poor. Some of them had been suffering from medical conditions for 5 to 10 years. We were mobbed each morning and evening by people waiting to see us, crying, begging for us to see them, dropping to the ground and wrapping themselves around our ankles imploring us to help them. Many of them had run out of food after waiting for us for days prior to our arrival.    

Zemero 1 


We were supposed to be there for a week but ran out of medications in only four days. In that short time we saw 800 people. We did what we could for most. A few we could not help at all. Many needed referral to a regional hospital; 99.9% of whom had no means of transportation or money to go there. Members of the team chipped in to send  the most critical of these cases to the regional hospital. One patient was sent by the team to a major hospital in the capital city, Addis Ababa, where she was successfully treated and returned to Zemero in a few days.  A few we definitely saved. I know of at least 10 children that we treated that would have gone blind without our intervention, and hundreds more with nasty infected wounds, various types of pneumonia and other serious infections who would have lost  life or limb without our intervention. Although we were unable to see all the patients that came to see us, we made  huge differences for the ones we did see.




The success of the mission was due in large measure to the generosity of all our donors. A special thanks to St. Mary's Hospital in Apple Valley, California for its donation of critical lab equipment that we installed in the Zemero clinic. A special thanks to Houston Northwest Medical Center for the much needed medical supplies and Mr. Mr. Emil Trokel for donated medications that he supplied for this medical mission trip, and finally thanks to the many individuals from all walks of life who donated their time, money and medications to make this trip a success. We thank all the institutions, individuals and especially the volunteers who spent their hard earned money, time and energy to help make this first medical mission a tremendous success.




IFA is committed to return to northern Ethiopia to help the people of the region. We now have a clearer picture of what is needed and will return better prepared to accommodate the needs of the people who come to us for care on our next medical mission in October of 2011.




For this upcoming mission in late October of this year, we will again need medical professionals, supplies, medications and money. As can be seen from the medical mission in March, the need is great!


Please help us!!!!!!


Anteneh Roba M.D.



Members of the Medical Mission tell of their experiences. 


I have mixed emotions about my recent trip to Ethiopia. Leading up to my departure, I couldn't have been more excited because I was finally fulfilling one of my life long dreams, helping the underprivileged in the country where I was born. I struggled with my decision to leave my normal and comfortable life, but eventually came to grips with the fact that I absolutely needed to help others. It took my family and specifically my cousin, Dr. Anteneh Roba, to assure me that I would be making an impact on this mission trip.




We arrived in Zemero and I didn't know what to expect. Would there be people waiting for us? Am I going to be able to treat patients? Am I emotionally ready for the pain and hurt I am about to see? These and many other questions were rushing through my head, but I had little time to worry. From the moment we arrived, hundreds of people were gathered. I was astonished at the size of the crowd and couldn't believe that I ever questioned making the trip. I knew at that moment, I made the right decision.



Over the next four days, our medical team did an outstanding job accommodating 800 patients. Unfortunately we could not see all of the patients, and turned roughly 4000 others away. We weren't able to help everyone, but we did everything that was possible at our clinic. Many patients came to us with eye related injuries or infections. A few particular cases come to mind that I want to share with you. 



On our first day in Zemero, a 25-year old woman was unable to walk and was carried in by her husband. The medical team was unable to treat her so we sent her to the nearest hospital, which is 2 hours away. Four days later, her husband called us to tell us she had yet to see a doctor. After hearing this news, we provided the funds for her to go to Addis and with the help of Nurse Yesheharge the 25 year old was examined and treated. The last day before their return to Zemero I visited with them at the hospital. Even though she is only one person, to see her beautiful smile and her husband's face light up made the whole experience worth it. 

 young sick patient


Another patient that I will never forget, a little 4-year-old girl came in with an eye infection (trachoma). Dr. Roba examined her and prescribed an antibiotic. He brought her to me and asked "Do we have 2 tablets of Zithromax?"  Unfortunately, it was our last day in Zemero and we were completely out of antibiotics. However, we knew that if she was not treated with the antibiotic, she would go blind. Luckily, we were able to purchase the medication from the village and saved the young girl's eyesight.  

 infected eyes


As I left Ethiopia I felt encouraged by the spirit of the people I met on my trip but mindful of the immense challenges facing the country. In particular, it is obvious to me that the region lacks the infrastructure to support so many people. The root cause of many of the illnesses stems from not having running water, which in turn contributes to the malnourishment of the people. I came to the realization that solving these infrastructure problems, rather than individual medical cases could have more of an impact. That is why I will continue to give my time and donate to the IFA, knowing that I am directly assisting the people of Africa.


I hope you'll join us. 


Written by,


Kiddy Getachew-Smith, Pharm.D



I am Dr. Dawit Meresa who is currently working in Yekatit 12 hospital in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. I have a great opportunity to work with a team of dedicated and wonderful people who come to our country to help the poor people of Ethiopia.  Although I was living in this country since birth, I never thought there was a place like the one we had seen with such extreme of poverty and in need of help. It may seem exaggerating but seeing almost every one of the people with different stages of trachoma and on the verge of losing sight due to lack of water, education and treatment.



We came across various diseases which required treatment but despite the effort made we were only able to help few of the many people which made me think about the place constantly . I would like to express my appreciation to the International fund for Africa for the work they are doing to help the people and I hope this will continue in the future to make a sustainable change and  finally the trip would have been a failure without the excellent and inspiring leadership of the team by  Dr. Anteneh Roba 




Written by,


Dr. Dawit Meresa



The people of Zemero were the most amazing and enduring people that I have ever seen.  They  live virtually unchanged from the way their ancestors lived over 2000 years ago, and most live in extreme poverty, yet they do not complain, and are very hardy and humble, extremely polite, very appreciative, uncomplaining, and very loving to allothers. I first hand witnessed  people with diseases virtually unheard of in the Western World like Leprosy.  



Many people walked 10-30 Km to the clinic, in hopes that we would be able to cure them. None of the people had selfish reasons for wanting treatment. I saw multiple, virtually blind people, that wanted their vision restored in order help their families by tending livestock, or farming. They did not want to be a burden to their families. I saw a young man- virtually crippled - from a probable untreated femur neck fracture, who just wanted to be able to walk again - in order to work in the fields and take care of his children. He never once complained. He was still able to hobble around with the use of a staff. Amazing!  So, in summary, a truly unique experience.  I felt a little sad and lost at times because the medical, nutritional and hygiene needs of the Zemero people were overwhelming.  However, even if I helped only a few people have a better life and a little hope, and bring a few extra happy moments into their lives, it was well worth the effort.

Written by,
Vince Herbert RN 


I would like to thank you for what you did for the community of Zemero and it's surroundings, it gives me pleasure to play my part . The first patient I saw was a 26 year old lady who has deafness since childhood and has developed  dacryocystitis, I drained the pus and gave her topical eye antibiotics and saved her eye. Imagine if she had lost  her eye too. This never happened cause  GOD has prepared you . Keep it up 


 docotr 1 

 Written by,


Dr. Daniel Bedane


This past late March early April, I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Zemero Ethiopia. The experience was so amazing. There are no words in Websters dictionary to describe it accurately. The area was beautiful and breath taking and  the weather was cool, dry and comfortable.  That  said, the most amazing part of the trip was the people. They were intelligent, resourceful, loving, kind and very appreciative of our being there. Of all the amazing things  I did and saw in Zemero, the children were my most favorite. With there bright smiles and  big beautiful eyes that were  full of wonder,  amazement and  great expectations for their future. 
Our group saws over 800 patients, with different medical complaints, the most being eye, abdomen, skin and GU. All of the people of Zemero worked hard to make our stay comfortable and safe. All in all it was a eye opening, educational and very gratifying experience and I look forward to doing  it again. Thank you, Dr Roba and the International Fund for Africa for the job you do and allowing me to be a part of it.
Written by,
Annie Robertson, Emergency Nurse Practitioner
Houston, Texas USA