Dr. Emmanuel Ehiwe, a consultant sonographer and public health practitioner from Birmingham, England talks about his volunteer program in Ethiopia. The interview was published on GoOverseas, find the full interview here.
Dr. Ehiwe served in different NHS Hospitals and currently teaches public health with health and social care courses in higher education colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He works as a clinical instructor for reproductive health (maternal and child) ultrasound program for obstetricians and gynecologists.
I was inspired to undertake this program as part of the need to give back and contribute to human development and society. My experience of working and providing care to patients gave me the inspiration to meet obvious gaps in practice and level of medical training among youths who are future leaders of the African continent.
The program organizers provided me the forum to meet with some youths who are members of the indigenous communities in Addis Ababa. They helped with local arrangements of lodging and accommodation, as well as guidance on moving around the city of Addis. The organizers also provided me with the training environment.
One piece of advice I would give to anyone considering this program is to be very open minded and prepare to meet new people. This is because I found the Ethiopian community locals to be friendly and warm towards volunteers and tourists. I would also advise that you make detailed enquiries about the specific roles and duties you would be involved in before you set out for the program.
An average day in the program was filled with one tutoring activity or the other. A typical day involved helping the kids review their school home work and getting involved in one public health advocacy seminar or the other in the evenings. Each workshop focused on teaching the youths life saving skills in emergency situations where there is no doctor. We also worked on learning first aid treatments for common injuries and accidents amongst other things.
I did not really have any fears or negative expectations before setting out for this program. This was because I knew and read from the web that Ethiopia is a peace loving and friendly country, particularly when you stay and work within the capital city of Addis Ababa. I had planned and limited my visit to this part of the country.