The Power of Collaboration: International Fund for Africa Brings Hope to Rural Ethiopia

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Latest medical mission by the International Fund for Africa (http://www.ifundafrica.org) changes lives of over 4000 rural people in Ethiopia.

International Fund for Africa: the team in Ethiopia

We wanted to make a difference for the people who need our help the most - the rural poor, many of whom have never seen a doctor in their lives.

The latest medical mission by the International Fund for Africa (http://www.ifundafrica.org) has changed the lives of over 4000 rural poor in Ethiopia. Over 100 of them regained their eyesight, thanks to a weeklong, collaborative, medical mission involving a team of US and Ethiopian physicians, nurses and health care providers.

“This is our second medical mission to Zemero; we wanted to make a difference for the people who needed our help the most – the rural poor, many of whom have never seen a doctor in their lives,” explains Anteneh Roba, MD, an E.R. physician in Houston, Texas, and the co-founder and president of International Fund for Africa. “What is remarkable about our team is the heartfelt, shared need to make a difference. All of us have full-time jobs working in the stressful conditions back in the US, or as in the case of our Ethiopian colleagues, in the capital city. But by taking a week off to help change the lives of others, we find that we have changed our lives as well.”

The team saw over 4734 patients in the span of a week, of which 2415 were screened and treated for minor eye conditions, 128 had minor surgery for trachoma, and 135 had cataract surgery to restore their eyesight. Working with government officials and Ethiopian healthcare professionals, the US team made healthcare history by bringing much needed services to an area of the country which is beginning to receive the attention it needs.

“One of our patients told us she had been living in darkness for nine years, and now she can see again,” says Seble Nebiyeloul, M.H.A., co-founder of International Fund for Africa “She is ecstatic.”

Many of the patients were medically blind and lived in solitary conditions, depending on the kindness of their fellow villagers. Regaining their eyesight literally gives these patients a new lease on life.

“30 of us and over 4000 patients – who says you can’t make a difference?” asks Nebiyeloul. “Once you see that even small actions can have a big impact, we all want to do more,” she says. “Our goal is to make a difference in these communities by providing services on a continual basis with monitored outcomes. This approach will also enable us to develop a strong relationship with the local health care professionals to assess their medical knowledge and provide on–the–job training to fill in any gaps in their knowledge and develop a continuity of care. We’re networking and partnering with the local and federal government and non–governmental and international organizations that will enhance rural health development with projects such as clean running water, solar energy systems, education and improved transportation.”

Founded in 2006 by Anteneh Roba, MD and Seble Nebiyeloul, M.H.A., International Fund for Africa (IFA), is a non–profit corporation dedicated to preventing, alleviating, and abolishing suffering. IFA works to alleviate suffering by providing medical care, shelter, supplies and many other types of support to those who cannot help themselves. For more information, please visit http://www.ifundafrica.org.

CONTACT: A. Roba, (713) 213 5952, INFO(at)IFUNDAFRICA(dot)ORG

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Anteneh Roba
International Fund for Africa
713 213 5952
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