Estranged People

Better Health, A Luxury?

Health care in Ethiopia is scarce for all the Ethiopians, but for those who are among the Ethiopian Jews, there is no government provision. 

However, since they have recently begun to be recognized as truly Jewish and allowed to make Aliyah, Jewish organizations from around the world have been a part of providing a clinic for them both in Addis and in Gonder. The clinic that I saw and stayed at was in a house in what had once been a much better neighborhood (close to the Israeli Embassy). It was a two bedroom sturdy brick house (unlike the ones pictured in other blogs on this site). There were three rooms in a row outside of the house that had once been servants’ quarters.  At the end of this row of rooms was a combination “toilet” (like that pictured on a different blog) and shower area.  A number of the 70 orphaned children of the Beta Israel community came and showered here on Fridays to get cleaned up for Shabbat. We stayed in one of the outside rooms while there; the other two rooms were used as the lab and as a counseling/education center.  Inside the house the two bedrooms were the treatment rooms and the living room was the reception area.

All treatment was provided by two nurses. In Ethiopia, clinics are classified as lower, middle and upper clinics, depending on the types of services they provide. This clinic had quickly moved from a lower clinic to a middle clinic because of the quality and variety of services it offered. To be an upper clinic it would need to have a doctor there, which was being worked on while I was there, but was not yet actualized. There is no dental clinic for them, although the University of Addis dental clinic has treated some of their emergencies on occasion.
In the Beta Israel community in Addis there are two children who are physically and emotionally handicapped, one is pictured here. There is no treatment for them in Ethiopia. The parents of this child asked me to please try to get help for their son. They had seen a taste of what could be done for him when an organization had come for two weeks with a medical team and he apparently received physical therapy treatment in his home.  These parents long for help for their child, but there is none to be had in their country. They expressed the desire to send him where he could get help.
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