OMI Partners with Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia

May 19, 2021

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with the Black Lion (Tikur Anbessa) Specialized Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

Medical Situation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa with 94.1 million residents (80% of whom are living in rural areas). Located in the Horn of Africa, the country is extremely poor and most of the population is engaged in subsistence farming. The average life expectancy at birth is 60.75 years. Communicable infectious diseases, especially in childhood, and malnutrition remain the biggest causes of morbidity and mortality. However, injuries and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and COPD are all rapidly increasing causes as well. Ethiopia is a high-burden country for tuberculosis due to its high levels of indoor pollution. Most of the country’s healthcare is delivered by generalists at health posts, health centers, and general hospitals. In general, physicians are in short supply and specialists are rare.

Black Lion (Tikur Anbessa) Specialized Hospital

There are several specialized hospitals in Ethiopia, including the new OMI partner hospital located in the capital city, Addis Ababa. As the largest hospital in Ethiopia, Black Lion is the main teaching center for both clinical and preclinical training of most disciplines. The institution also offers nationwide clinical services that are unavailable to other public or private institutions.

East African Training Initiative

The East African Training Initiative (EATI) is a two year fellowship program in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Black Lion Hospital. The first year of the program is devoted to clinical care and procedural skills. During visitations, fellows gain clinical knowledge through lectures, conferences, daily inpatient and outpatient rounds, and procedure supervision. In the second year, training in clinical research is added to ongoing clinical training. Before graduation, fellows must pass written and oral examinations and achieve high marks on faculty evaluations. Since its inception in 2013, EATI has made a tremendous impact in shaping the future of pulmonary and critical care medicine in Ethiopia. Founded by OMI faculty member Dr. Neil W. Schluger, the goal of the program is to gradually transfer full responsibility of leadership and medical training to the local partners over several years.

OMI and Black Lion Partnership

Dr. Schluger is also the main initiator of the OMI – Black Lion partnership. As a long-term OMI faculty member, he introduced the Black Lion Hospital team to the OMI team in Salzburg. The cooperation between these two institutions provides doctors in both locations with opportunities to make medical education more accessible. The OMI is glad to enable physicians from Ethiopia to participate in its medical programs and equip them with knowledge to improve healthcare delivery in their country.

To ensure the coordination between the two institutions, Dr. Tewodros Haile Gebremariam will assume the role of local coordinator. As Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at Black Lion Hospital and a graduate of the EATI himself, Dr. Tewodros is not only an expert on the situation in Ethiopia and pulmonary diseases, but also on the importance of training programs and the work behind such initiatives. As an OMI local coordinator, his activities will include promoting the OMI within Ethiopia, providing valuable information and support for physicians interested in the OMI programs, continuously managing the Ethiopian fellows’ data in the OMI application platform, and maintaining the relationship with OMI alumni from Ethiopia.