Ethiopia: Graduates Vow to Contain Cervical Cancer Amid Pandemic

- Country endeavors to enhance doctor-patient ratio

Recently graduated physicians have pledged to reduce cervical cancer health complications via providing the public with quality health service despite COVID-19 pandemic and work-related challenges.

These days, many of the higher education institutions are graduating their 2020 classes after education was interruption by coronavirus pandemic.

Having a short stay with The Ethiopian Herald, Dr. Elphalet Fekadu, who is an oncologist graduated from the University of Gondar in obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty, said the occurrence of coronavirus has been seriously challenging the health sector.

Physicians and patients could hardly meet in person due to the upsurge of COVI-19 despite the nature of the treatment that requires a consistent follow up and meticulous dealing.

Spending 12 years in studying medical doctorate, she graduated this year as a specialist physician of Cervical Cancer. While studying her specialty, she was also treating patients.

"Several patients who had surgical process were coming to our hospital every day and it was difficult to apply social distancing. But we have been striving to provide the service hand in hand preventing the pandemic."

The university is endeavoring to prevent the pandemic by taking prevention measures such as distributing sanitation materials, according to Dr. Elphalet Despite all challenges, she achieved the education in practical training and is committed to serve her people challenging with all hindrances including the pandemic and work pressure.

Cervical cancer is highly affecting the developing world like Ethiopia and claiming many lives though it is cured if the diagnosis is undertaking at early stage, she noted. "Therefore, our country must work extensively in testing and treating the cancer to reduce maternal death."

Oncologist Dr. Robel Alemu also graduated in cervical cancer specialty from obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty program.

Besides the training, the graduates had been conducting medication to cervical cancer patients for the first time. He believed that the realization of this medication is a game changer to the sphere and the country.

Improving specialization is important to provide quality health service and reduce the high number of patients to the minimum size of doctors in the country, he stated.

The impact of coronavirus has been huge during the training and it has compelled the students to reduce the practical training days from four to one, he remembered. But things became smooth through time as the people take time to alleviate the panic following the awareness raising program.

He planned to serve his country in his specialty applying the needed prevention mechanisms to keep himself and his patients from the pandemic.

Oncologist Dr. Dawit Kassahun believed that coronavirus has influenced the medical education as it halted specialists and medical internists' movement from Germany to Ethiopia and vice versa.

The training has been given in cooperation between the university and German Cancer Society in his subspecialty.

"In any case, we went through the challenges in a way that protect the internists and the patients from the pandemic while covering the courses in various means.

Our country's doctor-patient ratio is among the lowest in the world that could hardly help the nation provide citizens with quality medical service. There are only about 15 cervical cancer specialists to the country with more than 110 million people," he stressed.

Dr. Dawit has pledged to do his level best to serve the people despite the challenges of pandemic effects and work pressure for high patient flow.

Another graduate, Dr. Zinahbizu Abay is Internal Medicine Assistant Professor at the university. He stated that the international standard of doctor to people ratio is 1000 patient for one physician, mentioning that the number is more than 10,000 in Ethiopia. In rural areas, a general physician might serve 30 to 40,000 patients depending on the specialty.

The 2018 report of WHO indicated that Ethiopia has less than one physician and seven nurses and midwives to 10,000 people.

Mentioning the gap in the number of graduates in the medical science and employment opportunities in the sector, the graduates called on the government and other key players to play due role in bridging the gap.

BY YOHANES JEMANEH

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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