NEWS AND UPDATES
Advancing Healthcare Through International Collaboration : Local and visiting doctors work together for the wellbeing of the community
We're thrilled to share that our ongoing healthcare collaboration initiative continues to make a positive impact in Gurage. In November, two groups of volunteer doctors from Engera Italy, including Francesco Silenzi provided care at our supported health centers.
They achieved remarkable results, screening and treating thousands of people. Our volunteers seamlessly worked with local staff to address a wide range of medical needs in areas like maternal, pediatric, and chronic disease care. Ophthalmological services saw especially high demand, prompting plans to expand eye care through new partnerships.
This collaboration not only increased access to and efficiency of care, but also promoted valuable knowledge sharing between our teams.
Through our joint efforts with the Ethiopian Catholic Church, this model is laying the foundation for sustainable and community-focused healthcare in Gurage. We're energized by the exciting progress and grateful to everyone involved in advancing community well-being. This marks continued success for our initiative in driving better medical outcomes through local and global cooperation.
A New Chapter in Collaboration: Italian Volunteer Doctors Joining Attat Hospital!
We are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership: Engera is expanding its collaboration with Attat Hospital, a key referral hospital for several of our health centers.
Every three months, two doctors from Florence will bring their specialized skills to the hospital. Here's what Danilo and Agnese, our first volunteers, have to say about this partnership.
"As pediatricians with a passion for improving children's health, our previous experience volunteering at Engera's health centers has made us even more committed to ensuring that everyone has access to quality health care. This assignment at Attat Hospital is a natural step for us to provide specialized care and improve our medical skills.
We know that this experience in rural Ethiopia will teach us how to work effectively with limited resources and medicines, which is critical in a challenging healthcare environment. We look forward to working closely with the hospital team, learning from them, sharing our skills and improving patients' lives. And we look forward to amplifying Engera's positive impact in the local community."
Our founders, Dr. Francesco Silenzi and Dr. Giuseppe Indolfi, would like to thank Dotoressa Caldés of Centro Salute Globale, Regione Toscana, and Professoresa Chiara Azzari, Director of the School of Pediatrics at the University of Florence. Their invaluable support and guidance have made this collaboration with Attat Hospital possible. This initiative represents a significant knowledge exchange in both directions. We look forward to our physicians contributing their skills and expertise to improve health care in the local community, and we are equally excited about the valuable insights they will gain from working with local health professionals. We look forward to embarking on this journey and are excited about the positive changes it will bring to the lives of the local community."
Founded in 1969 and led by Medical Director Sister Dr Rita Schiffer, a distinguished gynecologist, Attat Hospital is an important hospital in Gurage. Last year, Sister Dr Rita Schiffer was awarded a humanitarian prize highlighting her remarkable achievements in this field.
We look forward to sharing knowledge and the positive changes that this collaboration will undoubtedly bring. Stay tuned for more updates!
World Water Week 2023
Time with Woyneshet
Insight : Life with limited clean water access
On the occasion of World Water Week, Eyosiyas, our new volunteer, had a conversation with Woynshet, a mother, and a resident of Gurage. In this conversation, we wanted to learn more about the daily water issues she faces.
By speaking with community members, we hope to gain real insight into the reality of their lives and work towards effective solutions. The right to clean and accessible water is a fundamental right for all, and we are committed to advocating for this basic human right.
Q: Where do you and your family get your water from?
Woynshet: We get our water from the river, but it is quite a long walk. The river is about 45 minutes from our village.
Q: That seems like a long way to fetch water. How do you manage it?
Woynshet: It is very difficult, especially in the hot months. I wake up early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. I take my youngest children with me and we carry two large Jerrican each. It takes us almost an hour each way to reach the river.
By the time we get back, I am exhausted. But I have to then take care of the household chores and cook the food.
The children also get very tired from the long walk. Sometimes their small bodies cannot handle carrying the heavy containers and they end up spilling the water.
Q: It sounds like fetching water has been such hard work for you and your family.
Woynshet: Yes, it is a struggle we have known for generations. My mother and grandmothers walked this same path every day since they were young girls. None of their lives have ever changed - they just grew older, carrying heavier loads as their bodies weakened.
I had hoped one day when I got married and had children of my own that things would be different. But here I am, nearly 30 years later, still making the same journey everyday. My circumstances are the same as those who came before me.
Q: It’s very disappointing to hear that the situation hasn’t improved over time. Has the government provided any help or assistance to address this difficult situation?
Woynshet: Some years ago, officials came to our village and said they would build a public hand pump well for us. We were so relieved at the thought of how easy it would be. But after their visit, we never saw them again.
Whenever we ask the local leaders what happened, they say the funds were delayed or the project was postponed. By now, I've lost hope that it will actually be completed. Our children will probably walk the same road as their mothers and grandmothers. Nothing will change.
Q: What about your health? Have you been sick drinking from the water?
Woynshet: During the rainy season, the river often becomes muddy and flooded with runoff from other villages. But even in dry times, the water is discolored and cloudy. We have no choice but to boil and drink it though. Many of my children have endured stomach illnesses and fevers after drinking from the river.
Just last month, my youngest daughter became very ill with diarrhea that left her very weak. I brought her to the clinic and there they gave her medications. It took over a week for her to recover. We use cloth to filter and we boil it for my children to drink as it was said it is better that way. But still I fear for my children's health. I fear they will get very sick and die.
Seeds of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World
World water week 2023
Woynshet's story highlights the urgent need for action and for the seeds of change when it comes to rural water access. As this year's World Water Week theme emphasizes, we must pursue innovative, sustainable solutions to create a world where communities like Woynshet thrive.
As climate change intensifies water insecurity, we need creative “seeds” - like groundwater extraction, solar-run pumps, rainwater harvesting, or small-scale irrigation - that can grow into oases of reliable water provision.
Through the daily difficulties of women like Woynshet, we see how essential water is for health, livelihoods and development. A water-wise world leaves no one behind with inadequate access.
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