Estonian doctors back from Ethiopia
Four Estonian doctors returned from Ethiopia yesterday. The country suffers from a chronic lack of medical personnel. The doctors spent two weeks performing surgery and training medical staff.
“The main problem is that there are no doctors. There’s a shortage of surgeons in the country. There are more than 90 million people in Ethiopia, but only about 300 surgeons, and they are concentrated on the area of the capital city of Addis Ababa,” said Jüri Teras, director of the North Estonia Medical Centre’s oncology and general surgery division.
The Estonian doctors mainly concentrated on hernia repair. Teras said that on average, the occurrence of hernia was more common in Africa because more people worked in farming and did hard physical work.
Teras added that there had been attempts to get them to perform more difficult surgery as well. “But the infrastructure of the hospital and the possibilities of rehabilitation weren’t what we are used to here, and we were of the opinion that it probably wouldn’t be safe,” he said.
Filmmaker Ilmar Raag accompanied the doctors to Ethiopia. “This was an opportunity to see a humanitarian mission up close. The doctors gave me access to everything, and I think if nothing else, we’ll get a photo exhibition and a short documentary out of it,” said Raag.
The four Estonian doctors had joined Hernia International on this mission, a British medical aid organization.