Indian Rotarians on a medical mission to Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Oct 8 (IANS): A team of doctors from Rotary International (RI) Districts 3080 and 3131 of India are undertaking a medical mission in Ethiopia for the second time after 14 years.

With this year's mission to "Engage Rotary Change Lives", the Indian Districts jointly conducting the project with Ethiopia's RI District 9211.

The mission, which consists of over 30 doctors, is organized in collaboration with the Ethiopian health ministry, is giving free medical care under the motto "Operation Campaign" from Sep 30 to Oct 9.

The team is offering the free medical service at different hospitals, including at Minilik II, Yekatit -12, Zewditu Memorial and Debre Berhan, 130 km north-east of the capital Addis Ababa. More than 1,800 patients are expected to get free medical service in these four hospitals during this period.

This mission has been initiated by former Rotary International president Rajendra Saboo, and his wife Usha Saboo, who has also participated in all the inter-continental medicare projects since 1989.

"This is a team comprised of highly qualified doctors from India who left their busy schedule to help under privileged Ethiopians and those who are in pain because they could not afford their medical treatment", Rotarian Madhukar Malhotra told IANS.

This global grant project is financially supported by Rotary Districts from India, host Kenya, Ethiopia, Italy, Taiwan, USA and the Rotary Foundation.

The doctors have come came with equipment worth $100,000, which will be donated to the hospitals where they have performed the surgeries. They will provide general and laparoscopic surgery, urology, plastic surgery and gynaecology at Zewditu Memorial Hospital, and ENT surgery at Yekatit 12 Hospital.

The free medical service at Menilik II Hospital will cover dentistry, eye surgery and medical professionals' training, and about 1,000 cataract operations will be conducted at Debre Berhan Hospital.

The campaign came about after a request was made for a medical mission by the Rotarians from Ethiopia. Preparations have been going on for the past three months where a team of doctors came to Ethiopia to evaluate the existing medical facilities and what they would require for their mission.

"We do not know these people, we are just going to treat them to our fullest capacity because our aim is service, and the more service we give the happier we are that we have helped somebody," Malhotra added.

Indian Rotary Districts have organized over 30 such international campaigns since the late 1990s. More than 400 doctors have participated in medical missions in Africa, including to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Congo, Malawi and Rwanda.

Over 30,000 surgeries have been conducted, with all surgical supplies and medicines brought from India to the project host countries

Rotary International has till date contributed more than $1.2 billion and volunteer's hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.


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