Medical Mission 2012
From 24 February to 6 March 2012 IFA co-founder and president, Dr. Anteneh Roba, led a medical mission team consisting of 30 healthcare professionals in a week-long program to address the immediate health concerns of people residing in Zemero, Ethiopia and nearby rural areas.
The combined USA/Ethiopian force included doctors from the USA specializing in internal medicine, urology and pediatrics; Ethiopian doctors specializing in general practice and ophthalmology; and 14 nurses from Ethiopia and one from the USA. In addition to these specialized medical practitioners, non-healthcare volunteers, drivers and IFA staff contributed their time and energy to an incredibly successful mission. Together, they addressed the health concerns of 4,734 patients in the course of a week, five times more than IFA had been able to see during their first visit to Zemero just one year earlier. This year’s successes directly resulted from an increase in funding, preparation, and healthcare professional volunteers.
In a significant advance from last year’s trip, IFA collaborated with several groups and institutions in Ethiopia: The Ethiopian Ophthalmology Society, who provided a surgical microscope; Debre Berhan Hospital, who provided space for surgery and pre and post-operative care; ABC rental Addis Ababa, who provided two buses for 10 days at no charge to transport referral patients; and the local and regional Amhara government who collaborated with the team on every level.
Due to the efforts of an eye nurse, who screened and treated over 2,000 patients in 11 days, IFA was able to provide cataract surgery for 135 patients, and enabled a minor surgical procedure known as tarsotomy to be performed on 128 patients, thus reversing or preventing blindness in a total of 263 people. While those suffering from eye ailments were being transported to and from Debre Berhan hospital for surgery, a team of ten doctors, five nurses and one pharmacist saw an additional 2,200 patients over the course of the week. Those patients needing immediate treatment were transported to Debre Berhane hospital or Addis Ababa, many of whom benefited from the ultra-modern lab run by a lab technician from Ethiopia, as well as other upgrades implemented after the donations of St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley, California. As the results of this mission demonstrated, the efforts of all our volunteers, affiliated institutions and donations vastly increased the impact of the mission in the rural parts of Ethiopia. Learn more from he people who were there (link to testimonials)
This single trip goes one crucial step further in IFA’s greater plan to improve healthcare in the region by addressing the root causes, not just the symptoms, of poverty. IFA proposes to do this through its strategic Community Health and Development Plan. By building on these trips to create Green Community Health and Development Centers, we can address the underlying causes of poverty: Food insecurity, water scarcity, poor roads and inadequate health infrastructure; and give rural Africans the means to improve their own lives and those of their children.