Home > Countries > Ethiopia > Ethiopia Updates: October 2016

Ryan Ellis reports from Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital in Ethiopia:

October 2016 (2009 Ethiopian Calendar)

Good day, and firstly, Happy New Year from Ethiopia. Time presses on while simultaneously transporting me back to the year 2009. For by the Ethiopian calendar we have just entered 2009! So it was good to welcome in 2009 once again…..I for one cannot remember what I was doing first time round….

Now firstly, let’s outline Ethiopia a bit further…

Ethiopia is a landlocked country of 82.8 million people in Eastern Africa. The economy is largely agricultural based with coffee and flowers being major exports to Europe. It is also a country that is undergoing significant development and expansion, particularly of its healthcare services. However, its Gross National Income per capita was estimated at $410 in 2012 and there also remains only 0.2 physicians per 10,000 people. This paints a picture of a country moving forward in its health care development but with many ongoing challenges. It is to tackle such challenges in health care that Soapbox continues to work closely with Felege Hiwot in Bahir Dar.

To date my experience in Felege Hiwot has taken me to improving care in the operating theatre, to promoting early recognition and prompt intervention of deteriorating post-surgical patients and into the ICU when the patient becomes critical. This has been a broad experience working with exceptional staff in an often very challenging environment. It has also reinforced my belief in the vast benefits patients globally can gain from the very real, achievable and sustainable improvements in surgical and critical care that can be implemented.

developed-icuThe ICU, which begun development when I arrived, is now complete and slowly expanding its capacity and capability. Soapbox continues to support this effort, with small improvements in care gradually being introduced. Further improvements will be accomplished following the arrival of Dr Jolene Moore who will be able to provide further training to the staff in this department.




The Quality Improvement Department at Felege Hiwot also continues to develop and more local staff are being employed to this expanding area to ensure the continuation of improvement projects across the hospital. Soapbox are committed to ongoing support of this by assisting in the employment of an Audit Clerk who can help the collection of data for locally inspired projects. A number of protocols have now been put in place to enable this work to continue and expand.

captureA number of Aberdeen students have also been out to Bahir Dar, as part of the ongoing partnership, over the preceding few months. These visits have resulted in the completion of a number of valuable projects while working with Felege Hiwot Residents. These projects have also been presented to the hospital staff promoting both quality improvement work and cultural exchange.



lake-tanaOnly one further month left in Bahir Dar for me this time round. Enough time to enjoy a beer on Lake Tana (a few more times!) and to hand over my position to Felege Hiwot staff to continue the growing partnership with Soapbox.







Dr Ryan Rhys Ellis MBChB, Bsc, DTM&H

Ryan attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh. Upon completion of his foundation training in Glasgow, Ryan completed the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in Tanzania and Uganda with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Ryan has an interest in the development of safe surgery and anaesthesia, his goal is to train in Anaesthetics.

Read Ryan’s previous posts here.