Resolute currently works only in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s hospitals embody the tenacity and adaptability of health care workers in the country. Ethiopia’s population stands at 105 million. When Resolute Health (formerly SAO) began its mission trips to Addis Ababa in 2008, the population was about 80 million. With this considerable growth, the government and partner groups have made massive progress in treating patients and working to build a health care system that is sustainable in the long run.
However, the country’s rapid growth has naturally led to a great strain on hospitals—both their infrastructure and their workers. That patient load is made more difficult due to outdated infrastructure and equipment in many buildings of our partner hospitals.
Since Resolute Health first arrived in 2008, our partner hospitals’ quality of care, equipment, training, and buildings have improved measurably. However, as Ethiopia’s population booms, the facilities still face many challenges.
- Dr. Abebe Bekele, a thoracic surgeon at one of our partner hospitals. He is one of only a handful of thoracic surgeons in all of Ethiopia.
When Resolute Health arrived in 2008, there was no epidural service for patients in labor in the hospital, or anywhere in the entire country. There are relatively few specialists in key fields. As of 2012, for example, only 19 anesthesiologists were working in all of Ethiopia. That’s compared to [around 100] at Swedish Hospital in Seattle alone, one of our partner hospitals. In turn, there are staggering patient loads for each physician, such as those faced by Dr. Bekele. WIth Ethiopia’s population booming at one of the world’s highest rates, the problem continues.
For many hours of the day, the medical staff faces a never-ending succession of triage efforts. They must try to identify patients with the most pressing needs and address them the best they can. There is little time for coordination or planning. With so little free time, medical students and residents often cannot receive trainings on key procedures.
Facing a hectic environment, the key medical personnel in our partner hospitals are often too strapped to perform or receive key training in certain medical specialties and practices. The personnel also work in the face of inadequate equipment and facilities.
Old buildings, infrastructure, Equipment
One of our partner hospitals was built more than 40 years ago. Back then, the hospital had a functional water supply system with hot and cold water and drainage. It also had a central oxygen system, a central suction system and many other hallmarks of a well-equipped medical facility. Today, all of these critical systems are in disrepair and largely nonfunctional. Among the problems: frequent power outages.
In fact, this is common to many of our partner hospitals’. Most of the hospital’s operating rooms have few, if any, electrical outlets and inadequate lighting, meaning that even if they obtain much-needed equipment it often has no way to power it.
When Resolute Health first arrived in Ethiopian hospitals, the volunteers found numerous rooms overflowing with broken donated equipment and obsolete supplies. There were shortages of everything from operating room tables to patient monitors. Of particular concern to [Resolute Health]: there were only two dated and barely functioning ventilators in the hospital, and virtually all of the existing anesthesia equipment was in major disrepair.