Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things ae bound together. All things connected. - Chief Seattle, 1854
International Fund for Africa (IFA), in conjunction with the Addis Ababa Health Bureau, has undertaken to upgrade the city's neonatal hospital services to provide more much-needed care. IFA's initial efforts have recently provided new equipment and supplies to Yekatit 12 Hospital and Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
Yekatit 12 Hospital is a referral hospital under the Addis Ababa City Government Health Bureau (AACG-HB), with 265 beds. It also accepts emergency cases without referral. The hospital, with nine major departments comprising six units, provides laboratory and diagnostic services, including routine and special radiological and ultrasound investigations. Just in pediatrics and maternity, Yekatit 12 treats more than 15,000 patients each year. Short on trained staff, it is overwhelmed with patients.
Prior to IFA's intervention, Yekatit 12 often lacked medical equipment and supplies to treat many newborns' complications. Mother and baby were sent to Black Lion Hospital by taxi or on foot, depending on ability to pay car fare. If the baby survived the ordeal and delay in treatment, she or he often died awaiting treatment at Black Lion, itself overwhelmed with patients.
IFA donated crucial materiel to Yekatit – incubators, phototherapy equipment, beds, intravenous cannulas, suction machines, oxygen concentrators, pulse oxy-meters, a cardiopulmonary monitor, glucometers, and an ECG machine – equipping 80 percent of the neonatal unit. IFA gave the hospital's neonatal nurses and physicians pediatric stethoscopes, scrubs, jackets, protective eyewear, shoes, watches, and caps – indispensable for saving newborns. IFA is working to secure the remaining 20 percent of equipment needed for Yekatit 12's neonatal unit. Many additional upgrades are needed at Yekatit 12 and Ethiopia's many other hospitals.
This endeavor, made possible by IFA's kind and generous supporters, will save tens of thousands of nascent lives.
Anteneh Roba, M.D., founding president of IFA, returned from a trip to Ethiopia in March 2009 after delivering life-saving supplies to Yekatit 12 Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: baby clothing, medical supplies, nurses' uniforms, scrubs, laptop computer with LCD monitor, projector, printer and scanner, a photocopier, and more. The day he brought these things, the Addis Ababa Health Bureau and the Hospital gave a luncheon honoring IFA and Dr. Roba.
Dr. Mulualem, head of Neonatology Services at Yekatit 12 Hospital, and Dr. Hassen Mohammud, head of the Addis Ababa Health Bureau, presented IFA with a Certificate of Appreciation for improving the Hospital's care of children and newborns. Fitsum Arega, head of Trade and Industry Development for the city of Addis Ababa, was a featured speaker, and the event was broadcast on national radio and television. The major improvements IFA has wrought are driving plans for Addis Ababa to construct a four-story pediatrics facility, with an entire floor dedicated to neonatology.
Subsequently, while visiting the High Risk Clinic at Yekatit 12 Hospital with Dr. Mulualem, Dr. Roba was delighted to meet six special babies and their parents – babies who would not be alive today if not for Dr. Mulualem, his colleagues, and their skilled use of equipment provided by IFA and its generous supporters. The babies' parents told how they had earlier given up hope and later were able to take home beautiful healthy children.
In June 2009, Dr. Anteneh Roba, on behalf of IFA, delivered equipment and supplies to create a Neonatal ICU, including three cardio-pulmonary monitors, an I -Stat machine for blood analysis, a portable X-ray Machine with fluoroscope capabilities, three humidifiers, three condensers, three sets of otoscopes and opthalmoscopes, a defibrillator, a large supply of respiratory-care equipment – and three pediatric/neonatal ventilators donated by the New York Mt. Sinai Medical School Department of Neonatology through the good offices of Dr. Ian R. Holzman, professor of pediatric medicine and chief of the Division of Newborn Medicine.
This most recent gift from IFA fulfills the basic equipment needs of Ethiopia's first and only neonatal ICU (NICU), as far as we know. Very likely, the NICU will make the difference between life and death for thousands of newborns and between joy and despair for their parents, grandparents, and siblings.
At the opening ceremony for the NICU, His Excellency Dr. Teodros Adhanom, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, presented a Certificate of Merit to IFA. Subsequently, His Excellency Mr. Donald Yamamoto, U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, and representatives of the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation visited the NICU.
Yekatit 12 Hospital is constructing a four-story building to be completed in fall 2011. The first floor will be dedicated to neonatal care. IFA plans to help equip the floor as needed.
Gandhi Memorial Hospital is the only maternity hospital in Addis Ababa. It opened its doors in 1955 and never had a neonatal unit until October 2009. The unit opened with just 16 neonatal beds. In April 2010, IFA donated five incubators, three phototherapy machines, five suction machines, and two oxygen concentrators. This stopped the transport of critically-ill babies to a distant facility. More than 30 percent of sick babies born at Gandhi would die in transit or awaiting admittance. Mortality of sick babies has dropped dramatically with IFA's assistance.
IFA works to ensure that every infant and child in Ethiopia has the chance to grow and realize his or her full potential. By saving lives at birth, treating sick children, and working with families, communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations, IFA will help until the people can help themselves. You are invited to join us in this crucial endeavor. Please make your donation today. No amount is too small. All gifts are greatly appreciated.