There’s a health clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that serves 100,000 people each year, including many of the 10,000 or so people who are the poorest of the poor. These people live in the community called Kore, which surrounds the dumpsite.
While serving in this community from 2014-2019, we learned that the clinic did not have a stable source of running water. About ten children are born each day in this clinic, but expectant mothers arriving at the clinic to give birth were each given one bucket of water for the delivery. The risk of infection, sepsis, and death was so high that many women chose to have their children at home where it was safer.
Sometimes, we learn about things in life we simply can’t ignore.
When International Samaritan was able to build a well to bring fresh water to Kore in 2020, we doubled down and built a second well to bring water to this health clinic too. Children are now being delivered in a much cleaner and safer environment each day.
Through donations, International Samaritan was able to bring fresh water to the Kore community in 2020.
Still, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries on earth, with an average annual household income of $1,020. Healthcare remains a challenge in Ethiopia, and in Kore in particular. Cases of leprosy and tuberculosis are present and infectious diseases like measles, malaria, and HIV/AIDS are a significant threat.
Way too often, the parents of our scholars pass away from unspecified health issues—caused by the toxic conditions of working in and breathing the air of the dumpsite for many years. This may be one of the reasons why so many of our Samaritan Scholars in Ethiopia want to become doctors.
With the support of her scholarship, Mekdes can study and pursue her dream of becoming a medical doctor. She recently met Ethiopia’s only female oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Seblewongel (pictured right), who gave her advice on preparing for medical school.
Three doctors from Trinity Health in Ann Arbor, Michigan, came with us to Kore last October to meet our scholars and their families. They spent some time seeing patients at the clinic and also at Alert Hospital, the larger hospital that supports it. They saw a challenge and an opportunity while they were there that they simply can’t ignore.
October 2023: Physicians from Trinity Health Michigan along with physicians from Alert Hospital and our team members in Ethiopia. Alert’s Dr. Abeba Kebede said he appreciates this partnership and looks forward to strengthening this collaboration.
After a series of conversations with the leaders of Alert Hospital, Trinity Health has committed to sending teams of residents and senior doctors on four-week rotations to assist the doctors in Ethiopia. They will be working under the supervision of Selam Kahsay, the coordinator of our public health efforts across all eight of our communities, and they will be walking alongside our scholars and their families as tutors, mentors, and friends. Eight doctors from Trinity Health will be serving in Ethiopia this April, and another 20 or so will be following them before the year is done.
Selam Kahsay and Dr. John Watt talk to a member of the Kore community.
One thing I’ve learned during my time with International Samaritan is that seeing our mission in person, and getting to know our scholars and families as friends, changes one’s heart for life. I thank God for the leadership of Trinity Health choosing to walk alongside our scholars and this unique community of people in great need, and I am eager to see how their time there will affect them and our community in the years to come.
In the News: Our new partnership with Trinity Health Michigan recently hit the news wire and was published by more than 200 media outlets throughout the United States. Will you pray with us that as people read about our work they’ll be inspired to join our mission?
Mike Tenbusch, IntSam President
Mike joined International Samaritan in 2018 after two decades of leading social change in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He’s a University of Michigan Law grad and author of The Jonathan Effect: Helping Kids and Schools Win the Battle Against Poverty. He and his wife, Maritza, have three children who keep them young.
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