Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia - Family Medicine launch

February, 2013

Drs Assegid Gelata, Netsehet Worku, Assefa Alamir, Assefa Beyene and Murutse Atsebaha

On February 4, 2013, Drs Murutse Atsebaha, Netsehet Worku, Assefa Alamir, Assegid Geleta and Assefa Beyene became the first family medicine residents to be trained in Ethiopia.

Dr Ahmed Raja, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Dr Mahlet Yigeremu, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr Dawit Wondimagegn, Associate Dean and Director of the Family Medicine Program, and Dr Miliard Derbew, Principal Investigator of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), presided over the program. Drs Lynn Wilson, Jane Philpott, Katherine Rouleau and Sarah Barclay from the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Drs Brian Cornelson, Mike Cotterill and Anjali Oberai, Canadian faculty based in Addis Ababa, and Drs Cindy Haq and Alida Evans from the University of Wisconsin, celebrated the launch and helped orient the new residents. They were honoured by the presence of the Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia, representatives from the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, and faculty from George Washington University.

The program is primarily supported by the University of Toronto with additional support from Cuso International, VSO International and the US Dept. of Health and Human Services through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). This was a proud, happy day with many people expressing hopes for a better future:

"We have waited for this day for a very long time. This will revolutionize primary health care in Ethiopia." Dr Dawit, AAU family medicine residency program director

"This program is important for our people and will link well-trained physicians to communities where they are needed. The program will take the best from the west, and adapt the content to meet the needs of Ethiopia. We are grateful to our partners from Wisconsin and Toronto." Dr Ahmed Reja, Dean, AAU College of Health Sciences

"This program will prepare physicians to practice in the community and will address the most urgent health care needs of the nation." Dr Girma, Human Resources Director, Ethiopian Ministry of Health

"This is a discipline without boundaries, community-based and responsive to the needs of the people. Initially I was against the idea, but now that I have seen and understand family medicine, I am convinced it is what our country needs most." Dr Mahlet, Dean, AAU School of Medicine

We talked about the importance of thinking big, starting small and acting now*.

We look forward to continued progress as we celebrate this milestone.

Dawit Wondimagegn, Assistant Professor, Addis Ababa University
Brian Cornelson MD, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Cindy Haq MD, Professor, University of Wisconsin

*Quote from Governor Barnabus Sebeu of Papua, Indonesia