Our work in Ethiopia began in the early 1990s when THET’s founder, Professor Sir Eldryd Parry, received requests from the Deans of Jimma and Gondar Medical Schools for support with skills development
for their young specialist and trainee doctors.
Since then, a strong partnership has formed between these medical schools, THET, and other institutions and organisations aiming to improve the life of NCD patients in Ethiopia.
The THET Ethiopia NCD Alliance (THENA) was created in 2016 in recognition that while we are a diverse group of organisations and institutions, we are working to achieve the same mission and vision.
WHAT WE DO
We work to decentralise NCD treatment and care from hospital level to health centre level in order to improve access to NCD diagnosis, treatment and long term care. We do this through service delivery and research.
We build the capacity of nurses and health officers in health centres to diagnose, treat and care for NCD patients. We also provide health extension workers with the skills and resources to raise awareness and refer members of the community in the surrounding areas to NCD services. By doing so, we are decentralising care away from the university hospitals that are too far away for rural patients to access without great cost.
HOW WE DO IT
Train, mentor and supervise nurses, health officers and health extension workers.
Develop the capacity of doctors and nurses at the university hospitals to become trainers and to take on the responsibility of mentoring and supervising at health centre level.
Work with local health authorities to ensure there is an appropriate supply of necessary drugs and medical equipment.
Maintain excellent NCD patient records.
Work with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health to ensure our work is aligned with national NCD policies.
Promote routine data collection and evaluation of the effectiveness of what we do.
The research we undertake allows us to understand the context in which NCDs have become prevalent in Ethiopian communities, as well as how these diseases impact patients lives.
A key finding of our research is that unlike in many contexts where the causes of NCDs are lifestyle based, for example, smoking, drinking and consuming unhealthy diets, within Ethiopia the main risk factor for NCDs is poverty and factors related to poverty. For example, in rural communities a lack of alternatives leads to the widespread use of open fires, which together with poor ventilation results in indoor air pollution and increases the incidence of chronic respiratory diseases. We have ongoing research projects investigating the links between poverty and these diseases.
HOW WE DO IT
Develop collaborative projects involving universities in Ethiopia and the UK.
Develop the capacity of the Ethiopian universities to lead research related to NCDs.
Present our work at conferences and publish our work in academic journals.