Category: "Health"

Ethiopian Girl, 4, Is Brought to U.S. for Life-Changing Surgery

September 7th, 2011

Ethiopian Girl, 4, Is Brought to U.S. for Life-Changing Surgery

When you first glance at Samirawit Hallemariam – it’s almost impossible not to notice the growth protruding from the left side of her face.

But, after spending just a few moments with this spunky 4-year-old, all of that disappears, and instead you see the twinkle in her big brown eyes. What’s more, you see all of the strength she has mustered up in her short life.

Samirawit, or Sami, as her doctors call her, is from a rural village in Ethiopia where little or no medical care is available – an especially dire situation for her because she was born with a venous malformation – a condition, which if left untreated, can be deadly.

Fortunately, fate stepped in, and Sami was discovered by chance at a clinic in Israel by Michelle Sorscher, a nurse manager for Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, of the Vascular Birthmarks Institute of New York, who was in Tel Aviv at the time helping other children.

Read more: from FOX News

Diaspora Activist: Health Care Project in Ethiopia a Success

August 23rd, 2011

Diaspora Activist: Health Care Project in Ethiopia a Success

Asfaha Hadera of African Services Committee says funding still a concern

VOA News

The U.S.-based African Services Committee (ASC) says its HIV Prevention and Treatment project in Ethiopia has proved highly successful. ASC director Asfaha Hadera said the program, which was launched eight years ago in the capital, Addis Ababa, is multi-faceted.

“It’s a one stop,” said Hadera. “It is counseling and testing, it is treatment, an outreach, reproductive health, family planning, nutrition, income generating activities for destitute mothers and their children.”

Hadera expressed gratitude to those who have been encouraging and helping ASC fulfill its mission. That so much has been accomplished with such limited resources is “magic and a blessing,” he said.

The funding for his organization, he said, comes from contributions by “generous Americans, United Nations Population Fund, as well as Ethiopia’s St. George Brewery and Castle Wineries.” Hadera said ASC has also partnered with the U.S. firm iTech on “mobile counseling and testing” activities.

The Ethiopian-born humanitarian activist said regional and federal health bureaus in Ethiopia have been supportive of his group’s project. He expressed hope that ASC’s efforts will be further recognized down the road so “we get our fair share and we can do more and better.”

In addition to the project in Ethiopia, CSI addresses the needs of newcomers in the United States. It provides health, housing, legal, educational, and social services to about 10,000 people a year.

African Services Committee was founded in 1981 in New York’s Harlem district. Hadera reflects on what inspired him to launch the organization.

“When I came (to the US) as a political refugee in 1979, there was no organization to guide and walk us through the system, access us to social security, healthcare, housing, employment and so forth.”

He couldn’t just stand by and watch, he said, and he decided he should fill the void. He said he launched his ambitious project by taking baby steps. “The program was initiated in my own small apartment.“

Hadera said his group’s efforts got a boost when “the Unitarian Universalist Society’s Community Church of New York offered us free office space in Manhattan.” But he said funding was in short supply.

The Ethiopian-born activist said nearly 30 years after its founding, resources remain a concern for the African Services Committee and its ever-increasing projects. All the same, Hadera said, he takes pride in what he and his colleagues have accomplished both in the United States and in Africa. He credits his wife, Kim Nichols, for her “unflinching support“ for the cause.

WHO Has Growing Fear Of Disease Outbreaks In Horn Of Africa

July 16th, 2011

WHO Has Growing Fear Of Disease Outbreaks In Horn Of Africa

By Lisa Schlein | Geneva

VOA News

The World Health Organization is warning of an increased risk of disease outbreaks in the Horn of Africa. It says it is particularly concerned about the spread of measles and water-borne diseases, such as acute watery diarrhea in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The World Health Organization says communicable diseases already are spreading throughout the Horn of Africa. It says disease outbreaks are likely to worsen because of extensive population movements in drought-affected areas, which have poor health care systems, low immunization coverage, and lack of clean water and sanitation.

WHO Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says the situation in Ethiopia is particularly critical.

“Taking into account the size of the population in the worst hit areas in Ethiopia, WHO estimates that two million children under five are at risk of measles, and already since the beginning of the year, there were 5,000 cases reported of measles," said Jasarevic. "More than three million of children under five should be screened for malnutrition and given vitamin A supplements.”

The World Health Organization says nearly nine million people in the worst affected areas are at risk of water-borne diseases, such as acute watery diarrhea. Although no cholera cases, so far have been detected, it warns some five million people are susceptible.

The U.N. refugee agency is caring for tens of thousands of refugees, mainly from Somalia in camps at Dollo Ado in southeast Ethiopia. Spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says one in every two children below the age of five who is arriving at the camp is malnourished. He says this is adding to life-threatening conditions there.

“The data we have from Dollo Ado is still incomplete at the moment," said Edwards. "But, at the worst incidents we are seeing-the mortality rates are at the Kobe camp at the moment, where we are registering 7.4 deaths per 10,000 people per day. To give you a sense of what that means, the normal baseline is below one.”

Aid agencies report health conditions in Kenya also are deteriorating. They say in all areas where large numbers of people are gathering, health facilities are overwhelmed and this is leading to shortages of medical and other supplies.

The World Health Organization reports in Mwingi districts and in the Dadaab refugee camps, 462 measles cases are confirmed and so far, 11 related deaths are reported.

It says population movements increase the risk of the spread of infectious diseases especially of polio, cholera and measles.

The U.N. Children’s Fund and WHO, along with the Kenyan Ministry of Health will begin vaccination campaigns at the end of the month along the Somali-Kenyan borders and in the Dadaab refugee camps. More than 200,000 children under five will be immunized against polio and measles and they will receive vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets.

WHO says it is stepping up its disease surveillance systems in Ethiopia and Kenya. It is training more health workers and providing medicines and medical supplies to the drought-stricken areas.

New York and Ethiopian hospitals exchange doctors to provide better care for patients with HIV

June 17th, 2011

New York and Ethiopian hospitals exchange doctors to provide better care for patients with HIV

Ethiopia and Elmhurst are worlds apart, but a partnership between hospitals in both places is helping doctors better treat their patients.

For the past four years, Elmhurst Hospital has exchanged doctors with Debre Berhan Hospital in rural Ethiopia in the hopes of sharing ideas and teaching African medical workers ways to prevent infection and provide HIV treatment.

Read more: NY Daily News

Young women aid Ethiopia's health system

April 23rd, 2011

Young women aid Ethiopia's health system

By Claudia Hammond

BBC, Ethiopia he majority of Ethiopia's population live in rural areas and when they are ill many do not seek medical advice, but a new government programme hopes to change this at a local level.

Eynalem Taye is 23-years-old, but her tiny frame makes her look like a slight teenager.

She sits confidently in the single-storey building she shares with another young woman health worker. She does not wear a uniform, save for a bright blue watch marked with a tiny Ethiopian flag and the words "Health Extension Worker" which denote that she is now qualified

To get to this remote health post I drive out into the countryside, past rows of billy cans filled with water, suspended in wickerwork bags ready to sell to passing truck drivers.

Then hundreds of tropical plants lined up in plastic bags in what appear to be miles and miles of garden centres next to each other along the roadside.

Read More from BBC News