Monday, October 19, 2009
Washington, D.C., October 19, 2009 -- Ethiopia Healthcare Network (EHN) announced award of an initial maternal and infant healthcare grant to LeAlem Higher Clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The competitive award will enable LeAlem to care for 100 patients each month, patients who would not otherwise be able to afford or have access to professional medical care. Under the grant, LeAlem will hire medical and social work staff and buy medicine and equipment. LeAlem is headed by Dr. Alemayehu (Dinku) Gebrehiwot, Medical Director, a specialist in pediatrics, obstetrics and emergency medicine.
On learning of the award, Dr. Alemayehu said, "[EHN's] support is a godsend. We will now be able to treat more patients among my country's most needful population." Only about 52% of Ethiopians have access to healthcare services; less than 6% of women have access to a health professional while giving birth . Ethiopian women have a 1 in 27 chance of dying during childbirth. Many suffer devastating complications like ruptured uteri or fistula -- complications which, according to the United Nations Population Fund, are preventable . EHN's mission is to alleviate these problems.
Through the EHN grant, according to LeAlem, each day five persons who would not otherwise have access will receive healthcare, 25 persons per week, and 100 persons in a month for six months. Thus, the health of children and women will be kept and these beneficiaries will perform their normal duties and strengthen their bread winning activities. Women will be healthy and take care of their family, children will be healthy, and school dropout will be reduced. The EHN grant provides not just for in-clinic care, but also social worker outreach to identify those most in need and monitor and support post-clinic patient performance – e.g., patient home care, access to and taking medicines.
Washington, DC-based EHN is guided by a board of directors with expertise in obstetric and emergency medicine, information systems and telecommunications, Ethiopia and third-world development, and non-profit organizations. EHN will evaluate LeAlem performance under the initial grant, and work to increase and extend support and practices that prove most beneficial.
EHN President Rev. John W. Wimberly, Jr., notes, "We envision this effort and LeAlem as a highly-efficient model for care delivery and use of EHN resources. Our goal is to extend support based on this model to not just care for 100 people, but hundreds if not thousands of patients each month at LeAlem and similar clinics." In the next 2-5 years, Wimberly notes, "EHN plans to add clinics and extend services and capabilities to rural Ethiopia, where maternal and infant healthcare needs are also dire."
 2005 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (FR179).
 Advocates Rally World Support to End Fistula, 6 July 2009, United National Population Fund.
Full press release here or PR Newswire.
LeAlem 2010 Picture Library