Between 11-20 July our treasurer Brian Lovatt travelled to Ethiopia to conduct an in-country project review with the new GRRDA Deputy General Manager/SMMMS Project Manager, Kassahun Demissie, and Hawlt, the SMMMS Medical Coordinator. Brian met with all of the SMMMS nurses to review their activities, discuss their needs, and issue medical equipment and supplies. He met with most of our project stakeholders to review, assess, and coordinate project activities.

The SMMMS clinic in Keyit is heavily subscribed with patients from neighbouring villages. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is considered to be the community’s own clinic and the fact that it is free. When Brian visited there in the mid-afternoon there were at least 20 people waiting to be seen – 2 were critical, and there was another patient in treatment with an IV for dehydration. The clinic has also been performing deliveries. Patient demand is so great that we have agreed to add a second nurse, which should also be a midwife.

The SMMMS project remains highly regarded by the Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP). The level of cooperation has continued to improve and collaboration in a range of areas remains very good. They continue to provide unrestricted access to the Park, use of their facilities, and cooperation with transport. We have agreed to provide medical/health related training to address their needs.

This would involve training 68 guides and scouts in first aid. The training will be to the standards of the Ethiopian Red Cross, certified by them and result in “Red Cross” certificate of completion. Training will be performance oriented and participants must demonstrate the ability to recognise the problem and administer the appropriate first aid. Courses will be based on 12 students per instructor.

Brian outlined plans to deploy our graduating midwives to the Government Health Centre at Chiro Leba in 2016 and the need to bring the facility up to standard for a fully capable Maternal Care and Delivery Centre. He discussed specifically the need to:

Establish arrangements for cooperation and collaboration with the Debark Hospital, the Janamora Health Officer, the Head of the Chiro Leba Health Centre.

Develop requirements for equipping a maternal care/delivery ward, constructing residential accommodation for expectant mothers at the Health Centre, providing ambulance services for patient transfer/emergency evacuation to the Debark Hospital, emergency communications, etc.

Developing an agreed action plan for implementing the required capabilities NLT the summer of 2016.

He also meet with senior medical staff at Debark Hospital to discuss how to further develop the “clean and safe birthing” initiative thoughout the region and the integration of our graduating midwives into the Government clinics.

As a consequence of the initial discussions we agreed to a Memorandum of understanding to combine our resources to reduce mother and baby deaths which are currently well above the national average. The hospital is the main source of maternal care for The Simien Mountains, providing cover for about 250,000 people.