Expansion of the hospital in Duss
Improving healthcare in a remote rural region
The Kara tribe in the south of Ethiopia lives largely undisturbed, isolated from modern civilisation. Their village, Duss, is located directly on the Omo river, with approximately one and a half hours of off-road terrain to the next village of Turmi. The inhabitants live in traditional round huts, keep livestock, catch fish and grow some maize – only ever enough to meet their own needs. To date, there is no infrastructure, no shops or restaurants. The nearest hospital is a day’s journey away by car – for the Kara, this means several days on foot. In the past, they often treated themselves with traditional natural remedies. They are, however, also open to western medicine.
humedica has been looking after the health of the Kara tribe for many years now – initially using medical teams sent to the region for brief missions. Since last year, humedica has been operating a health station or “Medium Clinic” in collaboration with the Ethiopian state. In addition to acute treatment, it is also providing the people with basic healthcare. Preventive medicine, maternity and paediatric services are also offered. There is currently no ward, and serious cases need to be brought to the nearest hospital with the available ambulance. In 2017, there were almost 6,100 patients treated in the hospital and at mobile clinics in the surrounding area.
The aim of the Medium Clinic is to considerably improve the health of the people, as well as reduce the mortality rate of the Kara and the other tribes living in the region. Average life expectancy for the Kara is currently 43 years of age.
In order to achieve this, we provide pregnant women with support and assistance before the birth, with many women now also coming to the hospital to have their baby. As there are still no cars in the region, apart from at the hospital, this can mean a journey of up to eight hours by foot. In order to be able to provide these women with the chance to stay somewhere overnight, we want to construct another building where they can stay with their families until they are discharged.
We are also planning to expand the existing pharmacy building. The previous pharmacy was built in accordance with government regulations, however is far too small. As the geographical situation means medication is procured from very far away (currently coming from the capital city Addis Ababa), adequate storage for extended periods is a necessity. This is not possible with the current building and we plan to build a new, well-insulated larger one (approx. 50 sq. m). The electricity required will be generated by solar panels as, like many other places in Ethiopia, Duss is not connected to any power network.
The Redel Foundation supported the expansion of the hospital in 2018 with a one-time grant of €20,000.