Like many resource-limited countries, Ethiopia is challenged by specialized training in lung health: it has only one lung health specialist in the public sector for a population of almost 92 million people. The country - one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest and largest - also has among the highest rates of acute respiratory infections in the world, and a growing incidence of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer.
To bring state-of-the-art pulmonary expertise to Ethiopia, Vital Strategies and the Addis Ababa University School of Medicine jointly launched the East Africa Training Initiative in Pulmonary Medicine, with additional support from the Swiss Lung Foundation.
Faculty recruited from leading U.S. medical schools, including Columbia, Brown and New York University, rotate through the Ethiopian training site. They work essentially as volunteers, with only their airfare and lodging covered. Under their supervision, ten Ethiopian fellows will receive two years of rigorous training in chest medicine that meets the highest American and European standards, with the content tailored to local needs.
The first two fellows performed an impressive 133 bronchoscopies, 30 pleural biopsies and 30 chest tube placements in their first year. On graduating, the fellows will be qualified pulmonary specialists, meeting the standards established by leading American and European training sites.