IntraHealth International

Our commitment: IntraHealth is a global champion for health workers. We have pledged to double our impact between 2011 and 2015 to ensure that more health workers are present, ready, connected, and safe. Mission: IntraHealth empowers health workers to better serve communities in need around the world. We foster local solutions to health care challenges by improving health worker performance, strengthening health systems, harnessing technology, and leveraging partnerships. ...
Jan 3, 2013

Diamonds in the rough: Meet our nursing scholars

Diamonds in the rough: Meet our nursing scholars
Diamonds in the rough: Meet our nursing scholars

The Tenta woreda, or district, does not look far from the Alkan Health Science College campus in Dessie on a map. For a bird, the flight would not be more than 30 kilometers.

But Ethiopia is one of the most mountainous countries in the world. The precarious roads in Tenta's Amhara region twist and turn as plateaus give way to steep valleys. The route from Tenta to Dessie is over 125 miles and can take over one day using public transportation.

Mothers with sick children in Tenta do not want to travel on these roads in order to see health worker. They would rather see a well-trained nurse right in their own community.

This is why Almaz B. wants to become a community nurse. With a name that means "diamond" in Amharic, Almaz is from the Tenta woreda and heard about our scholarship opportunity on the local FM radio. After applying for the scholarship and then passing an entry exam, she was accepted to the 36-month diploma nursing program.

The same is true for the five other nurses who have been accepted to our community nursing scholarship program:  Fatuma M. from the Albuko woreda, Genet A. from the Yeju Genet woreda,  Hawa I. and Haymanot A. from the Afar region, and Tsehaynesh A. from the Marye woreda.

Rather than requiring families to climb those mountainous roads each time someone is ill, these women will take the trip to Dessie for their nursing training.  They have all committed to returning to their communities for at least 3 years after graduating. When they return to their respective woredas as diploma nurses, they will be considered the diamonds in their communities more than ever before. They will know the local dialects and practices to provide culturally competent care to prevent and treat basic diseases. The presence of these six nurses alone will increase their woreda's access to primary health care.

To our "diamonds in the rough", Almaz, Fatuma, Genet, Hawa, Haymanot, and Tshaynesh: We wish you luck as you embark on your  nursing studies!

Nursing scholar Fatuma
Nursing scholar Fatuma
Nursing scholar Genet
Nursing scholar Genet
Ethiopian highlands (c) B Allen
Ethiopian highlands (c) B Allen
Oct 5, 2012

Back to School at Alkan University

(c) Alkan University - Staff ready for students
(c) Alkan University - Staff ready for students
For many of us, the fall season reminds us of the end of our summer break and a return to school. At the Alkan University Health Sciences College, this is no different. The school year is underway, and students are filing into lecture halls and practical laboratories to study nursing and midwifery.
Alkan University welcomes students for programs in medical sciences, community and public health, business, and technology. It offers training programs that are from 6 months to 5 years long.  Its core mission and values are to produce competent health professionals who participate in hands-on professional development activities to expand their knowledge, and who respond to societal problems through active community engagement. (Adapted from
We are in the process of selecting this project's scholarship beneficiairies and will introduce you to our nursing scholars as soon as we can.  Once they successfully complete their training, they will have the opportunity to join a thriving community of practice, the Ethiopian Nursing Association (ENA).  In anticipation of their induction to ENA, we share some history about nursing in Ethiopia: 
"Modern nursing in Ethiopia started in the later part of the 19th century by Swedish Missionaries who came to Eritrea in 1866. Years later the nursing service was extended to other parts of the country still by expatriate nurses from Sweden, Russia, and France. During this time some clinics and hospitals were opened in some parts of the country. Thus the need for nurses was felt more than ever. Around 1928 elderly women were recruited and were given short term training to serve as nurses and midwives. In 1949 the first School of Nursing (The Ethiopian Red Cross) was opened in the former Haile Selassie I Hospital (Now Yekatit 12 Hospital beginning of the modern nurses education). Students were recruited from 8th grade and the training duration was 3 ½ years. In the following years other schools of nursing were opened. One of the schools (Gonder) was training community nurses who were basically working in the community while the other schools train bedside nurses who work mainly in hospital settings.

In 1977, three years after the downfall of the Emperors regime, the nurse training was revised at a national level and a decision was made to train one category of nurse namely "Comprehensive nurse" who can function at all levels of health institutions. Thus the training of community nurses was discontinued. The academic entry requirement at this time was raised to 12th grade completion and the duration shortened to 2 ½ years. After the dawn fall of the Derge regime, since 1991, the training duration reduced by ½ years to only 2 years and the comprehensive form of training changed to specialized form of training.

The training of different types of nurses then started for two years in most training institutions and begins to train clinical nurses, public health nurses & midwives.  A remarkable event to be mentioned in the history of nursing in Ethiopia is the launching of post basic baccalaureate program in nursing in 1994 in the former Jimma institute of health science (now Jimma University)."  (Adapted from
Aug 14, 2012

Thank you for supporting health worker training!

Alkan University midwives in training
Alkan University midwives in training

To our generous donors,

Thank you so much for your kindness in support to train new health workers in Malawi.

Funds raised since September 2010 will be reallocated to Train New Health Workers in Ethiopia: Save Lives! This project supports the training of nursing students in Ethiopia's Alkan Health Science College. By educating this cadre of health workers, primary health care services will be more readily available to men, women, and children in high-need communities.  For an exciting update from Ethiopia please click this link. The academic year is fast approaching, and future nursing and midwifery students are preparing for their studies. We can't wait to help them access a high quality training and begin practicing!

If you would prefer that your donation be applied toward another GlobalGiving project, please email by August 31st.

Thank you for your continued commitment to providing solutions to the global health workforce crisis, one health worker at a time!


IntraHealth International  |  Because Health Workers Save Lives.


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