A milestone in healthcare in Ethiopia was achieved Sunday, July 24, 2016, as the first OB/Gyn residents graduated from a groundbreaking program at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Addis Ababa, and representatives from the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) were honored to attend. The residency curriculum and its methodology were co-developed in close conjunction with the University of Michigan, and the graduation marked the first step in creating a robust and sustainable presence for reproductive health and family planning across the health system in Ethiopia. The seven graduates all became faculty at SPHMMC, guiding the 60 residents in the three classes behind them.
Dr. Senait Fisseha, adjunct professor in the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, helped start the residency program in 2012. Dr. Fisseha, who was born in Ethiopia, worked with SPHMMC and the former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who is now the country’s foreign minister and maintains a strong interest in health care policy and delivery.
Dr. Tedros addressed the ceremony, telling the graduates, "Everyone involved with the residency program, faculty members and the residents themselves have demonstrated leadership and commitment that made it successful. And this success is multiplying. It is my hope that you will continue to serve your community and your country beyond graduation to train the next generation of nurses and doctors, who like you, want to stay and serve."
SPHMMC has as its stated aim "Striving for Excellence in Women’s Health," and the advance of the curriculum and its graduates fits into that goal, according to Dr. Balkachew Nigatu, MD, who had been
St. Paul’s OB/GYN Residency Director and is now the school’s Postgraduate Program Director. With the graduates joining, the faculty in OB/Gyn has grown by nearly a third to 23 Ob-Gyn attending – the largest in any public institution in the country.
While the recent graduates are the first, they will be trailblazers for the others nearing completion all over the country, amplifying the role of CIRHT to help the country change course for reproductive health and family planning.