We work with Ethiopia ACT, a project in Addis Ababa that has focused on people with HIV/AIDS, but also more recently people in the poorest communities around the city who have no access to medical care. The project identifies these people and for those with HIV, helps with access and compliance with antiretroviral therapy. In addition, they provide food and assist with housing for these people. 6 to 8 medical teams each year come in to serve the medical needs of these people, to ensure their well being, and help them on their way to self sustaining life. Nearly 20% of those who enter into the care of the project end up "graduating" to self sufficiency each year.
I was encouraged about a dozen years ago to join a team heading to Ethiopia and while there, met up with those running this project. Roughly 800 people are beneficiaries of the program each year, and a number come back to help as "expert patients" to assist in the psychosocial care of the newer people enrolled in the project. These people are some of the most outcast in Ethiopia, often kicked out of their rural villages once their HIV status is discovered. Without this care, most would die.
I will be making my 14th trip to lead a medical team to Addis Ababa this November, and we expect to serve roughly 600 people during our week there. Those people who need follow up care are seen by not only the staff of the project, but also subsequent medical teams as necessary.
Our small team with 4 physicians and several nurses worked with the help of the staff of the Ethiopia ACT project for a week in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian government has built 30,000 housing units on the outskirts of the city for the poorest to reside, as their homes in the inner city are removed for new construction projects. These are the most vulnerable in the city, and many have never had medical care. The Ethiopia ACT project had surveyed this neighborhood with the help of the government and recognized the need for medical care. During our week we saw over 500 people with a variety of ailments from hypertension and acid reflux to leprosy. We were the first medical team to work in this area, holding our clinics in rooms of government buildings, with the new government now very engaged in trying to provide better medical care for the people. We brought our medications with us to each location, and made arrangements for follow up care for those who would need it. It was a rare person who left our clinics without a smile and expressing gratitude for our help. Many thanks to the Doximity Foundation for the grant allowing us to help the least of our brothers and sisters.