International Fund for Africa
Issue: XLIV           
October, 2013
International Fund for Africa Newsletter
In This Issue:
IFA Participates in Ethiopia's 15th Annual Review of Its Health Programs
A Call To Support Mehal Meda Hospital in Amhara, Ethiopia
Obesity--The Mother of All Diseases!
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IFA Participates in Ethiopia's 15th Annual Review
of Its Health Programs

From October 9 to October 11, 2013, Ethiopia held its 15th Annual Review Meeting (ARM 2013) of the Health Sector Development Program (HSDP). Seble Nebiyeloul, IFA co-founder and the head of IFA operations in Ethiopia, attended the event and gained valuable insights into the recent progress and current challenges facing health care providers in Ethiopia.


Held in Mek'ele, a city located in the northern, Tigray region of Ethiopia, the conference provided a critical overview of the performance of the entire health sector and offered field trips that allowed participants to see firsthand the activities of health programs in the region and to exchange ideas and findings with one another. This year, the ARM concentrated on a specific theme that strikes at the heart of IFA's own efforts in the region: the promise "to end preventable maternal and child death in Ethiopia." According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 2013 progress report, Ethiopia has made tremendous strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4, and has already reduced the under-5 mortality rate in the country by two-thirds. ARM 2013 detailed the tremendous impact that innovative efforts such as the frontline Health Extension Workers (HEWs) program has made in reaching these achievements. Currently, 38,000 government-employed female HEWs provide quality care to children and mothers in remote areas at the community level, partnering with organizations like IFA to reduce infant and mother deaths resulting from preventable causes. 


A Call To Support Mehal Meda Hospital in Amhara, Ethiopia

Solomon Abayneh, a representative from the Mehal Meda Hospital, one of four hospitals which service over 360,000 people in the Amhara region of central Ethiopia, has released a call to support the hospital's growing efforts. Founded in 1998 to provide quality, cost-effective health services to the people of the region, Mehal Meda's services have continually expanded to meet the often urgent needs of the population. Some of their newer services included follow-up for chronic cases, comprehensive HIV care, increased outpatient and inpatient pediatric care, and labor and delivery for pregnant mothers and their babies.


More recently, the performance of emergency obstetric care has allowed the hospital to save more lives, yet a lack of adequate equipment and staff training has continued to result in preventable infant deaths. Therefore, the hospital is seeking vital donations that will allow them to improve the quality of their services and save the lives of young newborns and their mothers.


IFA is eager to assist the efforts of Mehal Meda, which is located 30 kilometers from Zemero and provides essential services to the surrounding population.


Obesity--The Mother of All Diseases!

The epidemic of obesity is now a worldwide phenomenon (Globesity). Statistics shows us that in the United States smoking is the #1 cause of preventable deaths while obesity is #2. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and one-third are obese.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. In 2008, 10% of men and 14% of women in the world were obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2), compared with 5% for men and 8% for women in 1980.


In the U.S. obesity costs have soared to $150 billion. Obesity-related health care costs in 2000 were $117 billion.


For example, 11% of cancer, 14% of osteoarthritis, 17% of heart disease and hypertension, 30% of gallbladder disease and 57% of diabetes can be attributed to obesity.


Studies show that life expectancy for the morbidly obese is reduced by 8 years for women and 20 years for men.


Obesity runs in families. Studies show that eighty percent of obese 10- to 14-year-olds from obese families end up as obese adults. Consequently, childhood diabetes and even osteoarthritis and premature puberty are at an all-time high.


Why is obesity, the mother of all diseases, now at an all-time high? Find out more about obesity from Dr. Dawit Mengistu on our website. 


Dr. Dawit Mengistu,
Lifestyle and Preventive Medicine Expert,
CEO Health First Solutions Business
and Trading Plc, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia