A Word From Our Executive Director
Medical Mission in Sululta, Ethiopia
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a medical mission in Sululta, Ethiopia sponsored by Global Reach Children’s Fund. The team included general practitioners, a pediatrician, opticians, a nurse practitioner, a dentist, and three non-medical participants. I was invited to go as a representative of Webkinz Foundation, and took on the role of dental assistant.
Sululta is a rural town of approximately 30,000 people. There is an existing clinic in the town that is now staffed by nurses – no doctor. If urgent medical attention is needed the closest hospital is in the capital city of Addis Ababa, 30 miles away. Given the limitations in transportation and money, it is only the very few that actually make the journey to the hospital.
Our medical team was warmly welcomed by the clinic staff and members of the community. The people of Sululta were kind, friendly, and gracious hosts, and taught us a lot about living life with patience and dignity.
After an initial set-up day we were eager to see our first patients. Quality medical care is sorely lacking and very much needed in Sululta, and within a short time period there were crowds and line ups at every examination room door. Over the course of the week the medical team treated close to 1,000 patients. As successful as that is, from our perspective, the reality is that there are many more thousands of people needing medical attention who can’t get it. During the mission some of the doctors trained the clinic staff in various techniques. At the end of the mission we left quite a bit of medical and dental equipment, as well as medication, in the hope that the staff will be able to better serve the community.
Sululta is also the location where Global Reach is building Faith Village, a large scale project that Webkinz Foundation contributed to in October 2008. I was happy to see that the foundation for the Toddler and Infant Homes have been erected, and that construction is progressing as expected.
I have now been to Africa for the first time. The country is beautiful and has a very rich history and culture. Thanks to Global Reach and my involvement with the medical mission, my experience there was more meaningful than I could ever have expected it to be.