We are so encouraged after our recent trip to Ethiopia. While we were there we were able to begin the training of 6 screeners who will be going out to local schools to educate and screen for early signs of Rheumatic Heart Disease. The 6 chosen for the training have a real passion to help improve the health of their communities.
Our team included Amit Sharma a cardiology fellow, Eileen Nemec an echocardiographer and Ron and I. We worked with Michelle Yates a family medicine doctor working at Soddo Christian Hospital in Soddo Ethiopia. She along with a couple Ethiopian doctors will be continuing the training of the screeners and accompanying them on their screenings until they are ready to be independent.
It has been a goal of ours to setup teams of screeners who will go out into the community educating and screening to find the children before they have terrible heart valve damage. With a yearly stipend that we are giving the hospital, they have agreed to allow the 6 new screeners to go out once a week in groups of three to do this vital work. Our future hope is that we will be able to hire teams full time to increase the number reached in the surrounding communities and eventually the entire country. Ethiopia can serve as a model for the rest of the nations plagued by the devastating effects of rheumatic heart disease.
We would like to thank Dr. Michelle Yates and the administration of Soddo Christian Hospital for their commitment to improving the health of their community.