Expending pediatric neurosurgery capacity to save lives
& forging deep relationships to ensure lasting change
CAPACITY BUILDING - RAF is helping train the first generations of Ethiopian neurosurgeons
When ReachAnother Foundation first became involved with Ethiopia’s healthcare system in 2009, there was only one neurosurgeon to serve the country’s 90+ million population.
As part of its ongoing services, RAF has advised and consulted with neurosurgery departments at the University Hospital of Addis Ababa University, the Myungsung Christian Medical Center and the Zewditu Memorial Hospital for Pediatric Neurosciences, among others. RAF’s Hydrocephalus Campaign for Ethiopia at Zewditu Hospital provides vital hands-on training for Ethiopia’s growing number of neurosurgeons. Since the start of the Hydrocephalus Campaign in 2014, RAF has helped train 40 neurosurgeons, and subsequently enabled the start of a second neurosurgery training program at St Paul Millennium Medical University and a third at Mekele University.
CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE - raising medical standards
RAF developed the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Neurosurgery [CoE] program at three university hospitals to provide “timely, value based, patient centered and superior care” to SBH patients. Each one will include cross-specialty collaboration where specialists will practice together and provide “one-stop service” so that patients can have all needs addressed in one visit to the hospital. Initial sites were chosen based on their desired commitment to maintain the program.
PREVENTION & AWARENESS - an integral part of the solution
The primary cause of neural tube birth defects is a lack of sufficient folic acid (a B vitamin) in the mother’s diet. Folic acid occurs naturally in leafy green vegetables, and is added to bread products in the Western world. In Ethiopia many people are food insecure and few expectant mothers receive sufficient folic acid in their diet.
RAF is working with Ethiopian public health officials and international charity organizations to educate women on the benefits of taking folic acid supplements as part of their daily routines. Most recently, ReachAnother was instrumental in seeding the first Folic Acid public heath campaign in the country. Five years in the making, and a major step forward in the prevention, this campaign was a collaboration between Rotary International, Ethiopian neurosurgeons, the Addis Ababa Health Bureau and ReachAnother.
The project included training for 500 Health extension workers, midwives and physical therapists about NTD awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. It also included TV and radio public service announcements, posters, flyers and other teaching materials.