Yakob’s Journey With ReachAnother

My journey with ReachAnother Foundation has been nothing short of remarkable, filled with meaningful connections, transformative experiences, and a shared commitment to improving healthcare outcomes for children affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus in Ethiopia.

It all began in May 2015 when I had the privilege of meeting the ReachAnother team for the first time in my office at St. Peter Specialized Hospital, where I served as a young CEO. I vividly remember the surreal feeling of meeting identical twin surgeons of Dutch origin, Drs. Dick and Jan Koning, towering figures with an unparalleled determination to enhance care for vulnerable children in Ethiopia.

From that moment on, our partnership blossomed, and together, we boarded on a journey of progress and innovation. We established a dedicated neurosurgery center at St. Peter Hospital, providing a safe haven for children affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Our collaboration extended beyond medical interventions; we initiated the first incontinence management training program and launched awareness campaigns in collaboration with Rotary, amplifying our impact across communities.

In early 2019, just after attending ReachAnother Foundation’s fundraising Gala in Oregon, where I was deeply moved by the show of support from the Central Oregon community, I was honored with the role of Director General at the Ministry of Health. Despite this new responsibility, my bond with ReachAnother remained solid. Throughout my tenure, I continued to champion the cause of children born with neural tube defects, integrating ReachAnother’s initiatives into national healthcare strategies.

In mid-2021, fueled by a passion for driving policy change, I embarked on a Fulbright Fellowship focused 
on health policy for low- and middle-income countries. With the generous support and guidance of
ReachAnother’s founders, I delved deep into studying neural tube defect prevention, treatment, and
rehabilitation, recognizing the pivotal role of early intervention and holistic care.

Upon completing my Fellowship, I transitioned into the role of Ethiopia Country Director for ReachAnother, a position that exemplifies my enduring commitment to our shared mission. Leading ReachAnother’s programs in Ethiopia, I am empowered to effect tangible change, guided by the belief that every child deserves access to quality healthcare and a chance at a bright future.

My journey with ReachAnother Foundation underscores the profound impact of first impressions and the enduring power of collaboration. Together, we are rewriting the narrative of pediatric healthcare in Ethiopia, one life at a time.