German-based NGO Ethiopia-Witten and Mekelle University’s Collaboration to Erase Rheumatic Fever in Ethiopia


In September 2016 Etiopia-Witten e.V. launched in cooperation with the Mekelle University the first program in Ethiopia to erase rheumatic fever in children and adolescents (Primary Prevention)

The take off for the beginning of the concrete preparation of a program to prevent the development of rheumatic heart defects in children and adolescents by erasing rheumatic fever was performed by the German cardiologist Dr. Gabriele Wehr MD from Stuttgart, member of the development aid association Etiopia-Witten at several conferences in mid-November 2016 together with the presidency of the Mekelle University and the responsible medical faculty.

A joint program was developed on the basis of scientific preliminary investigations by doctors from the Mekelle University in 2015, in which the timely and comprehensive penicillin treatment of children with acute bacterial inflammation of the throat in the rural and urban regions of eastern Ethiopia will be organized and its results be backed scientifically.

In order to implement this program in a timely and successful manner, a close collaboration was established between Mekelle University and the German development aid association Etiopia-Witten. To achieve a broad impact, further national and international development aid organizations will be involved.

On her first visit as an advisory and teaching cardiologist in February 2016 to Ayder Referral Hospital of Mekelle University in northern Ethiopia, Dr. Wehr had been confronted with the heavy burden of the large number of young patients with severe, valvular heart defects, which has its origin in not penicillin-treated, bacterial, childish throat infections. Many of the patients she met, should have been treated by open heart surgery, that is not yet available in Ethiopia.

After having learned that since many years international medical societies call for the urgent treatment of the causes of rheumatic heart disease in Africa, and until now this has not yet been put into practice, she decided to dedicate herself during her newly started retirement together with the members of the association Etiopia-Witten to this task.

Source: Etiopia―Witten e.V.
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