Ethiopia Surgical Training Rotation
Operation Smile has partnered with Jimma University in Jimma, Ethiopia, to launch a surgical training program. Over the next three to five years, Operation Smile hopes to train six general surgeons from Jimma University to continue their education and specialize in plastic surgery. There are currently no plastic surgeons in Jimma.
The programs first two trainees are Yonas Teklu and Daniel Abate, both have been educated at Jimma University.
"Lack of plastic surgeons is a huge problem here," said Daniel Abate, who has completed his general surgery training. "If a patient has a deformity, or a burn, or something more than what a general surgeon can handle, they have to go far away to Addis. Most people will not go. They won't seek any medical help after that. But people trust Operation Smile. Because of Operation Smile, now we can have help for plastic conditions in Jimma."
Over a period of three years, the selected trainees will travel to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for hands on education in plastic surgery. They will later spend time in Taiwan and the Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Center (GC4) in Guwahati, India for more specialized training before returning to Jimma where the trainees have committed to stay for a period of at least six years to provide plastic surgery to those in need as well as help train more plastic surgeons in the region.
"This is really a great sustainable program to help the 15 million people of southwest Ethiopia and beyond," said Professor Mitike Abraham Hailemalk, Dean of the College of Public Health and Medical Science at Jimma University. "I thank Operation Smile for their commitment to help our people, to build the capacity of Jimma. With this program, we can develop excellence in surgical care here in Jimma and continue to train more plastic surgeons here."
Plastic surgeons and longtime Operation Smile volunteers, Dr. Per Hall from the United Kingdom and Dr. David Orr from Ireland, developed and helped to launch the program.
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