There are many exciting updates to report.
Birhanu Desyibelew and Becky Adugna, two Ethiopian physicians we are sponsoring with two-year fellowships in rheumatology in Durban, South Africa, are flourishing. Dr. Girish Mody, the head of the program, is very pleased with their progress. Both Drs. Desyibelew and Adugna attended a conference sponsored by SARAA (South African Rheumatism Arthritis Association) in September 2019 where they not only learned a great deal but also were able to meet with other trainees in rheumatology.
The American College of Rheumatology is sponsoring Becky Adugna’s attendance at the national meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in November. This is one of the premier international meetings in rheumatology with more 15,000 rheumatologists attending from all over the world. Becky will be able to learn cutting-edge research as well as network with other rheumatologists. These interpersonal relationships are especially important because Becky will become a leader in rheumatology not just in Ethiopia, but in Africa as a whole. His collaboration with other rheumatologists and rheumatology professionals will provide him with the tools to promote rheumatology throughout Africa.
Another exciting development in our mission to increase access to rheumatology care is a planned CME conference (continuing medical education) in Rwanda. The medical leadership there has reached out to us to help rectify an urgent problem: there is not one practicing rheumatologist country wide. We are pleased that Angela Migowa, a pediatric rheumatologist practicing in Kenya, her native country, will be joining our faculty. Dr. Migowa trained at McGill University in Canada with one of our board members, Rosie Scuccimarri.
Finally, our visiting professor program continues to flourish in Ethiopia. Two rheumatologists will return to Black Lion Hospital for a month in early 2020 to work with four to five doctors in training, all local medical residents, who will then teach junior residents. In this way, the impact of the visiting professors is being magnified. The visiting professors will also guide the residents in the rheumatology clinic, which currently runs bi-weekly.
By increasing knowledge about musculoskeletal and rheumatic disease, we hope to prevent the severe deformities you see below in a picture of an Ethiopian woman in her early 40’s. Your support enables us to continue our current projects and, just as significantly, expand them.