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Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!

by IntraHealth International
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Train new health workers in Ethiopia: Save lives!
Alkan's community nursing scholars
Alkan's community nursing scholars

Greetings friends of IntraHealth and ALKAN Health University,

We are happy to report that our six community nursing scholars are deep in their first semester of studies. All six are currently taking the following courses:

  • Work effectively in Health Industry
  • Comply with Infection Control Policies and Procedures
  • Follow the Organization’s OHS policies
  • Handle Waste in a Health Care Environment
  • Perform General Cleaning Tasks in a Clinical Setting
  • Prepare and Manage Beds
  • Collect and Manage Linen Stock at User-Locations
  • Undertake Routine Inventory Maintenance
  • Civics
  • Entrepreneurship

We invite you to learn more about our community nursing scholars. Many thanks to Adamu Kassie for completing the interviews.*  Below, read about how they are reacting to the news of their scholarship, their expectations about the training, and what they hope to do once they become professional health workers:

Almaz B. is 19 from the Tenta woreda. Her father is daily laborer. Almaz was interested to continue her college education in the health sector because she observes a lot of people in her community suffer from easily curable diseases. Almaz said, “This opportunity has a remarkable place in my life. Starting from this day I am ready to be a hard working student and complete my education successfully.” As a community nurse, Almaz hopes “to serve her community with good ethics according to the profession.”

Fatuma M. is 20 and comes from the Albuko woreda. Fatuma’s parents are farmers. She understands that being a nurse can help save a lot of lives in rural areas. That is why she decided to become a nurse.  With the knowledge and skills that she will gain, Fatuma hopes “to serve my community based on what I have learned, and to help my parents economically.”

Tsehay A. was born 21 years ago in the Marye woreda. Her father passed away before she turned 10 years old. Supported only by her mother, Tsehay couldn’t continue her college education due to financial difficulties. But now with a scholarship, Tsehay said, “thanks to Intra Health International and ALKAN University College, I got the best opportunity in my life.” She hopes that she will be a good and professional nurse through hard work. Tsehay aspires to someday open her own personal clinic.

Haymanot A. was born in Afar Region, in the rural area near Asaita. She is 17 years old. She said there is a great shortage of health professionals in the Afar Region. For this reason, she decided to become a nurse. Once she becomes a professional health worker, she especially hopes to serve the mothers in her community. In addition, she will be providing economic support to her family.

Hawa I. is from the town of Semera in the Afar Region and is 21 years old. Hawa has always admired the nursing profession. Her dream was to become a nurse so that she could serve her people. Hawa said, “I am lucky to
get this opportunity and I will work very hard to successfully complete the [nursing] program.” She hopes to continue improving her education, knowledge and skills so that she may serve her community as a nurse.

Genet A. is 21. Her parents’ economical capacity is limited to cover her college cost. She said, “I was very happy when I saw the notice [for a scholarship opportunity] posted on the notice board. This opportunity has a special place in my life. Now it is time for me to work very hard.” she said. With the good knowledge and skills that she will acquire through her training, Genet seeks to serve her community and get involved in health-related community issues. 

We thank you for your continued support to championing frontline health workers through this project, and will continue to share news from Ethiopia.

* Nurse quotes are based on translations from Amharic to English.

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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
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(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
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According to the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, there is only 1 nurse for every 3,012 people, and only 1 midwife for every 39,758 people.  The country is committed to increasing the number of nurses and midwives by 2015, but there is a shortage of funding for tuition.

The Alkan University College of Health Sciences, located in Addis Ababa, offers nursing and midwivery degrees from their faculty of community health. Alkan University College is a private college founded in 2002 as a memorial of Hakim
Workneh Eshete, the first and famous former Ethiopian physician. The college is now upgraded its status to University College by including other training programs.

This project will support the education of 6 diploma nurses for two years, preferably female students from rural, remote or underserved areas of Ethiopia.  


* Please note: This project was originally designated for a nursing school in Uganda, but because they were not able to take additional students for this current school year, the project will instead support nursing students in Ethiopia.


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The ACCESS School of Community Health Nurses has suggested the evaluation method for awarding scholarships to deserving and needy students. This has been accepted by IntraHealth, and a contract is currently being signed between the two parties to enable transfer of funds to the ACCESS School. The first batch of three students benefitting from this scholarship program will be enrolled in the 2012-2013 cohort. The ACCESS School will admit three additional students thanks to your support. The school will send regular updates on the progress of the students, which we will communicate back to you. The students will graduate at the end of 2013, and will begin serving their communities. Thank you for your support!

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Organization Information

IntraHealth International

Location: Chapel Hill, NC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IntraHealth
Project Leader:
Emily Kiser
Development Officer
Washington, DC United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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