HCP trainee rides out COVID lockdown with fellowship

​Dr. Bezawit Tadegagne Abera, an ophthalmologist from St. Paul's Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, arrived in Kathmandu on Dec 1, 2019 for a 5-month hands-on training program at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO), a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre to complete her fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology.

By the second week of March with COVID on the rise, HCP was in the process of discussing ways to extract our partners who were pursuing ophthalmology training in India, Nepal and the United States. Unlike the others, Dr. Bezawit expressed a desire to remain at TIO to complete her studies, also citing additional concerns about air travel and the possibility of infection. At the same time, options for a routing from Nepal to Ethiopia became virtually non-existent because of international travel restrictions, so she remained in Nepal to complete her fellowship.

While keeping in contact with HCP, Dr. Bezawit has kept busy by participating in electronic lectures and other educational programming, and has taken advantage of in-person opportunities as permitted. Dr. Bezawit is currently scheduled to depart Nepal on July 9 for Addis Ababa which translates to an additional 10 weeks above and beyond what was anticipated, due to the COVID pandemic.

"I was so impressed with Dr. Bezawit’s positive attitude throughout this entire ordeal. We are thankful for her trainers in Nepal who took great care of her while the country was under strict stay-at-home orders. However, what is more impressive is that Dr. Bezawit is the first female Ethiopian ophthalmologist HCP has supported in pursuing a fellowship in pediatrics in the country (trained by a female ophthalmologist, Dr. Srijana Adhikari) and the fourth pediatric fellowship HCP has supported to improve eye sight for children. Congratulations Dr. Bezawit!"

-Pamela Clapp, HCP Chief of Program Administration

HCP has supported 20 unique pediatric training opportunities to Ethiopians including subspecialty trainings and observerships in Nepal (TIO), the US (Moran, Emory), Tanzania (KCMC) Israel (Shaare Zedek), and South Africa (Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital) and other short-term workshops in Ethiopia at Jimma University and Menelik II (AAU). Dr. Bezawit is the eighth Ethiopian HCP has sponsored for a short-term pediatric training course at TIO in Nepal.

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