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Nevada State College Students and Faculty to Reflect on Medical Mission in Ethiopia

Nevada State College Students and Faculty to Reflect on Medical Mission in Ethiopia

The two Nevada State College (NSC) faculty members and eight student volunteers who completed a medical mission this summer in Ethiopia will discuss their experiences during a special presentation at NSC at 11 a.m.  Tuesday in the Great Hall of the Dawson Building, 1125 Nevada State Drive, Henderson.

Dr. Kebret Kebede, associate professor of biology at Nevada State College and a practicing orthopedic surgeon, led the medical mission with Dr. Robin Herlands, assistant professor of biology at Nevada State College, and students from Nevada State College’s Anatomy & Physiology Honors Society and Pre-Health Professionals Club.

In a closely supervised environment, the NSC students shadowed physicians, observed and assisted with surgeries, and interacted with patients.  The mission was based at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, where the NSC team, together with local orthopedic surgeons, completed for the first time in the hospital total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgeries. 

In addition to the surgeries, the NSC group brought with them medical supplies and equipment for the hospital that had been donated locally and by Biomet, a medical products manufacturer. The faculty members also gave several lectures to local medical students, including Dr. Herlands, who taught immunology at the medical school associated with the hospital.

This was Dr. Kebede’s second medical mission to Ethiopia. The hospital and its affiliated university personally invited Dr. Kebede to return this year with additional student volunteers to assist with patient assessment and treatment as well as the teaching of aspiring doctors and surgeons.

The NSC group maintained a blog about its experiences (http://nscethiopia.wordpress.com). The students and their faculty leaders, who recently received commendation for their services by Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen and the Henderson City Council, will discuss their work and experiences with the public and NSC community.

In a previous medical mission to Kenya, Dr. Kebede brought a student, a successful Las Vegas police captain hoping to change her life and career, whose experience inspired her and aided her in getting accepted into medical school a year later.

“These opportunities are truly life changing for those able to take advantage of them,” said Kebede, who is also a member of the International Society of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT).

Ethiopia has a critical shortage of health providers including general physicians, nurses, and particularly surgeons.  Despite Ethiopia’s incredible population of 80 million, there are only about 200 surgeons operating in Ethiopia’s hospitals. The World Health Organization recommends a physician to population ratio of at least 1:10,000 in developing countries, yet many regions of Ethiopia have ratios as dire as 1:200,000.