By Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
College of Optometry
Yesterday, Ohio State College of Optometry faculty members, Dr. Dean VanNasdale and Dr. Andrew Emch made their way to the Department of Optometry housed in the International Fistula Training Center at the University of Gondar. The Department’s mission statement reads, “The profession of optometry offers comprehensive eye care services to all mankind. The training program has the philosophy of producing skilled manpower equipped with adequate knowledge, skills and attitude to deliver such eye care services in the most ethical manner, both on the national and international level.” What institution wouldn’t aspire to that?
Hosted by Department Director, Destaya Shiferaw, and several of the faculty, Dr. Andrew and Dr. Dean were struck by many things that surprised them. Dr. Dean found that the optometry bond ran deep, declaring the faculty at UoG “more similar than different to us,” and he was struck by the faculty’s honesty and candor and that they truly held nothing back. Dr. Andrew declared the faculty, “Enthusiastic and proud, yet self-aware.” Unusual characteristics for faculty members, don’t you think?
Destaya and colleagues are clearly altruistic, focused on the larger community and the optometric profession. They had a clear “vision” of the future of optometry in the country and all of Africa, and envision themselves as leaders in public health as it relates to eye care in east Africa. The two teams spent several hours in completely open, engaged communication. They return tomorrow to tour the clinical facilities and discuss strategies for advanced contact lens fitting instruction and practice in the UoG clinic. Stay tuned.
By Andrew Shaw
Clinical House Instructor at Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State
Since returning from Ethiopia I am filled with excitement. The people there are incredibly welcoming, warm, and giving. They invited us to see their patients, wards, and hospitals. The doctors there exhibit such passion for medicine, learning, and are always wanting a lecture.
Establishing a long term relationship with the Neurosurgery Department at Black Lion hospital will be mutually beneficial.
Upon our arrival, I believed we would be the teachers, but I often found myself on the learning end. The pathology they see is often advanced and requires much skill to treat.
You might recall the show MacGyver. As Wikipedia says, “Resourceful and possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, [MacGyver] solves complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife.”
Our Ethiopian partners are the “MacGyvers” of medicine doing amazing things with limited resources.
By: Tim Landers, RN, PhD
Ohio State College of Nursing
This past weekend, we had a chance to take a hiking tour of the Simien mountains in Ethiopia. This has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth – the landscapes are gorgeous, the people are smiling and proud, and there is plenty of wildlife.
I have done quite a bit of hiking with my two sons and friends from Boy Scout Troop 33 in Columbus. As we were hiking across the Simien mountain pass, our guide and I chatted about our experiences hiking and guiding groups.
Melese Beza (of www.outstandingsimienmountainstours.com) grew up tending livestock as a shepherd and works as a professional tour guide through the mountains as he completes his bachelor’s degree in tourism management. He speaks English quite well and we began to talk about the types of health problems he encounters as a professional hiking guide.
We took a break as it began to rain and started a “show and tell” of our first aid kits. He had a basic kit ready for the main emergencies from African trekking – including what he adoringly called “potions” such as acetaminophen, wound disinfectant, and diarrheal medications.
He used somewhat different terms, but described several conditions which would be expected – ankle “dislocations” (strains/sprains), altitude sickness, injuries from rock falls (abrasions and cuts), and blood sugar emergencies. He also described unfortunate drowning victims he recalled from last summer and that they had attempted “breath blowing” with success in one victim.
In my training back home, we’ve prepared for emergency evacuation of wounded hikers by helicopter transport, extricating from deep woods by foot and by vehicle, and most of our Scouts have completed training in first aid and CPR.
In this region of Ethiopia, there is no such option. There are no helicopter evacuations from the Simien Mountains. Guides call for help and it will come as soon as word can reach the village by foot and a jeep, configured as an ambulance, can make it to the wounded person.
As we discussed how injured hikers are treated and our own experiences, I was impressed with his solid grasp on these conditions. He has been working with several other guides trying to organize a more formal training in first aid and CPR for Simien Mountain guides.
Because our group is exploring the possibility of working with nurses and health extension workers to do health education, I was able to direct him to some excellent training resources developed by my friends at Columbia University School of Nursing. They have developed a fine first aid training curriculum in first aid for health extension workers.
I left him with some supplies from my kit and he reciprocated by sharing knowledge of local plants and remedies.
He left me with an appreciation for the training and preparation it takes to safely enjoy the outdoors – whether it is in Ohio or in Ethiopia.
The Ohio State University Health Science Colleges established the One Health Ethiopia Task Force in August 2012. Our goal is to develop a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership with Ethiopian academic and affiliate partners, especially the University of Gondar and Addis Ababa University.
Because Ohio State has seven health science colleges on one campus, unlike any other American university, we are able to offer our Ethiopian partners unprecedented interdisciplinary collaboration that results in healthier, happier, more productive lives for Ethiopia’s citizens. The work we do is also intended to be replicated elsewhere, amplifying the impact of our collaboration.
This blog features the activities of our faculty and students involved in:
- One Health Summer Institute courses taught by faculty from Ohio State’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Optometry, and Medicine;
- Ongoing research initiatives on rabies, cervical cancer and food security, including the Ohio State health sciences colleges above and the School of Environment and Natural Resources; and
- Workshops on rabies eradication, One Health partnerships, molecular epidemiology, and neurosurgery.
Our faculty and students are in Ethiopia to collaborate, educate, and inspire.
We hope you enjoy our offerings!