In Ethiopia, Supporting the Rehabilitation of a Regional Hospital

INTERVIEW After two years of conflict, Ethiopia’s infrastructure needs to be rehabilitated urgently. Since 2022, Expertise France has been implementing a project to renovate the Dessie Regional Hospital, which serves more than 10 million residents.

Dessie Hospital CEO

What are the health issues in the Ethiopian region of Dessie?

The disposal of solid and liquid wastes is the most crucial health issue in the Dessie region, including at the hospital. Diseases related to environmental pollution account for most of the major health problems seen in our patients.

Shortage of key medical equipment is another problem, which causes patients to be referred to other countries and therefore exposed to various expenses, illness and even death.

While the city of Dessie has no problem with water supply, access to it is very low. The hospital was built 60 years ago and needs to upgrade its supply capacity.

Last, the lack of public latrines and toilets is an issue at Dessie’s comprehensive specialized hospital. It is the largest, oldest and only teaching hospital in east Amahara region, serving more than 10 million patients from five zones and the two nearest regions. Although the number of users is constantly increasing, the infrastructures haven’t developed accordingly, leading the customers to suffer from the lack of adequate toilets.

To help strengthen health systems, Expertise France supports partner countries in implementing the priorities of their health plans.

What are your expectations regarding this project funded by the EU and implemented by Expertise France?

We expect this EU and French-funded project to bring a brighter future for our hospital and community through a number of modernizations. The hospital’s under-standard solid waste disposal system will be reconstructed and its clean water supply system adjusted – this should solve the problem in terms of quantity and delivery to users. The liquid waste sewage line is also very old and damaged and does not have enough storage or septic tank capacity. This causes high costs for the hospital as well as environmental pollution: this project will solve this double issue. What’s more, other old and damaged infrastructures will undergo renovation and restructuring, such as our patients’ food preparation department, patient department and morgue room. Patients, customers and staff will also benefit from a new, covered walkway. Last, thanks to the provision of scarce medical equipment, we will be better equipped to treat our patients in time, without unnecessary expenses and transfers.

Dessie’s comprehensive specialized hospital is the largest, oldest and only teaching hospital in east Amahara region, serving more than 10 million patients.

What assessment can you already make about the implementation of the project?

The project implementation follow-up was conducted by higher officials from the ministry of Health. The regional health bureau participates as member of the steering committee.

Technical working groups and committees, at site and facility level, are also formed and composed of various important stakeholders. They initiated and followed the implementation of the waste disposal. The project team also assigned a site engineer to lead the activities. We are happy to work together with the contractor and project professionals from Expertise France to achieve the renovation of the facilities and offer a better access to healthcare services to the population in Dessie.

Interview conducted in March 2023

See also