Living and working in Germany, Dr. Anna Kiefer, doctor of medicine in obstetrics, Dr. Debru Addissea and Prof. Gert Naumann, President of the German Association for Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Reconstruction, have been able to train and graduate two fellows at the University of Gondar.
Urogynecology & pelvic floor reconstructive surgery is a sub-specialty of Gynecology. A urogynecologist manages clinical problems associated with dysfunction of the pelvic floor and bladder like pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence and anal incontinence. And for a couple of years now Dr. Anna, with her Ethiopian husband Dr. Debru Addissea, have been working actively in Ethiopia to increase the quality of care when it comes to dealing with the female reproductive system.
Dr. Debru Addissea with his wife Dr. Anna, in the next 3 to 4 months, will open a training program on feto- maternal medicine which is connected to women’s pregnancy health. Opening sub specialties in the field of medicine is a matter of advancing Ethiopia’s health and wellness according to Dr. Debru and subsequent generations will reap the benefits.
According to Dr. Anna she was initiated to help because of her love for the country and also because of the overall progress she has seen in the medical field in Gondar. “We started to work on the gyne-obstetric care in Ethiopia and established 10 years ago a residence ship program in three universities including the University of Gondar, Mekelle University and Bahar Dar University.”
After the successful graduation of those residence the married couple started to continue the knowledge sharing by opening a Urogynecology & pelvic floor reconstructive surgery and Gynecologic oncology fellowship programs. She believes that they are important subjects to better elevate the medical care of women in the country. The couple from Germany established the postgraduate education program in gyne- obstetrics 8 years ago in Gondar.
When asked about the University of Gondar and its work in the field she stated that she is a strong believer of the people here at the university and its administration. “We know a lot of individuals who are educated and who are working on their residence ship,” she said, “so it was a good opportunity to ask the university if there was interest to further train students in the field and luckily there were two possible candidates, Dr. Birhanu Abera and Dr. Zelalem Mengistu. So it was a natural decision to carry on our training.”
Something that Dr. Anna and her husband stressed was that they wanted to develop a curriculum with European standards and incorporate international quality education because they were convinced that African countries should have the same quality of services for its population.
The University of Gondar has one of the top medical schools in the country. With one of the highest graduations rates when it comes medical students these steps in converting the already respectable quality of the college to incorporate international standards will only increase the abilities of the doctors who are treating the community.
The students as well seemed to be responsive to the teachings of the instructors. “They are learning well and are active in a lot of ways,” Dr. Anna said, “I think Gondar is a good place for the future to become a center of excellence in different sub specialties.”
She also felt quite good about the staff who were more than willing to accept their proposals and techniques. She said, “It is good and reassuring that the university and the department are completely with us. This is wonderful.”
Another obstetric specialist, who is also the President of the German Association for Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Reconstruction, Prof. Gert Naumann, also spoke a little bit about his desire to develop a more robust and high quality work ethic in Africa.
He stressed that such illnesses that stem from women’s organs is a major problem for ladies in Ethiopia. When elaborating on that idea the Professor from Germany said, “There is a need to treat these patients and I am real proud to have administered an examination for Dr. Birhanu Abera and Dr. Zelalem Mengistu from the University of Gondar who are now the first subspecialist in Urogynecology & pelvic floor reconstructive surgery in the whole of Ethiopia!” According to the President of the German Association for Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Reconstruction these new subspecialist will do wonders for the country.
Pelvic prolapse (POP) affects almost half of women older than 50 years and 11% of these will require reconstructive surgery by the age of 80. As the female population ages in Ethiopia this will create a phenomena that will create awareness. The primary goal at present should be to predict who will develop POP in order to improve counselling and management, particularly obstetric care “Preventive Urogynaecology”
The doctors from Germany strengthened the abilities of numerous up and coming doctors. Those who gained from the international experts will in turn share what they have learned with others to advance the state of health of women. It may be a steep climb to catch the leaders in the world who are doing better than Ethiopia but one thing is certain the top is, nevertheless, in sight.
By Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate