Ethiopia Outreach 2020

Ethiopia Outreach is a UT Health global health initiative that partners with a US-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Common River, located in the heart of the Sidama coffee growing region of rural Ethiopia.

Common River serves children and women who have the least access to education and health services. Their organizational mission is to empower the community to become balanced, productive, and self-sustaining for others to witness and replicate, while honoring the cultural heritage and environmental biodiversity of the region. They strive to accomplish this mission by implementing community development programs to improve overall health and education, while also empowering the community to ensure sustainability of these changes.

Since 2008, medical teams have been able to provide school health screening, basic medical supplies, treatment and preventive health education to the people of Ethiopia through Common River. In 2019, an electronic medical record was implemented, allowing the team to access past records, document growth, and medical interventions with the added ability to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of care over time. Because Ethiopia Outreach’s annual visit may be the only time these people receive medical care for the year, the consistent return of the Ethiopia Outreach team is essential.

In addition to school-based health care and clinical work, we also invite Common River faculty, staff, female literacy students and community members to participate in Community Health Clubs. These Clubs provide a forum for people to meet, learn together, and discuss community-wide needs, with the aim of facilitating health behavior change and empowering the community to find solutions to collective health priorities. Trained local facilitators deliver preventive health curricula, like the six-month water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) curriculum we launched in 2019, utilizing participatory learning methods. Finally, we anticipate the Clubs will provide a venue where community members can share their thoughts and feedback, informing how we can best apply our time and expertise.

The Ethiopia Outreach team at UT Health San Antonio has partnered with Common River since 2008. For continuity of health care and education to this community, our team needs to reach our fundraising goal of $25,000. This money is NOT going to pay for accommodations, individual travel or personal expenses for any of the team members. The funds we raise will be used for essential medications, equipment, and educational supplies required to meet the needs of this community’s beneficiaries. Each dollar raised here is poured right back in to the community.  For more information about how your donation help, please see the list below:

School lunch program: Starting the 2019 year, everyone gets school lunch. YOUR help here could mean lunch for all without cutting other programs.

Lunch costs 50 cents per child, per day.

$15 feeds one student for one month

Shoes: In 2018, Ethiopia Outreach launched the “Tunga Takedown” program fighting the scourge of Tunga penetrans (a parasitic sand flea that burrows into bare feet causing pain and vulnerability to further infections. If left untended, tetanus, or even irreversible foot damage can be complications). School faculty, in partnership with our team, effectively removed the pests, educated on prevention, and treated all the infected feet. By May 2019 , 95% of the school children were free of tunga and none had lasting disability (which is a dreaded outcome of this chronic infection)!!! We did not rest until everyone’s feet were cleaned, treated, and covered with sturdy shoes and socks. A new rule was created: no one on campus without shoes!

However, feet grow! Almost one year has passed, and the kids are showing up wearing tight plastic $2 shoes that pinch their feet and make them sweat, later giving them fungal infections. 

$20 buys one pair of shoes that cover the toes and properly protect feet
$25 buys socks for 30 students
$500 puts shoes on 30 students (purchased in country, supporting local businesses)

Medications: Some of the specific health challenges in rural Ethiopia include intestinal parasites (worms-yikes!); Trachoma: the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness which is curable with a single dose of azithromycin. Then there’s high blood pressure: a big problem for the women’s literacy classes. In addition, CommonRiver kids often have trouble with lice and scabies because there is not enough water to wash with at home. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene community health clubs will help everybody prevent future infections, but when you’ve got scabies, you NEED relief from all that itching!

$50 buys HCTZ (hypertension medication) for 15 people for one year
$80 buys all the albendazole needed for a year, to “deworm” everybody at CommonRiver
$143 will cover all the single dose azithromycin CommonRiver needs to treat trachoma and prevent blindness.
$152 for anti-fungals to treat cutaneous and systemic fungal infections 
$75 to buy vitamins for 75 children for every school day for one year (our research has shown that this intervention is highly effective in reducing anemia in our kids, and they can learn better)
$250 can purchase Ivermectin to treat lice and scabies

$170 buys 3 Inhaler chambers  to treat asthma, and 60 doses of Albuterol

Program needs:
$2,800 provides 3 Medical Interpreters for 19 days at $25 a day (They translate our English into Amharic and Sidama languages, quite an impressive feat. Without them, our work would be impossible.)

We are counting on the generosity of friends and family to partner with us once again for this amazing opportunity. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step, and we want it to begin with you.

  • Cameron Holmes 
    • $250 
    • 29 mos
  • Victoria Fung 
    • $20 
    • 30 mos
  • Christopher Lau 
    • $20 
    • 30 mos
  • Ian Hoang 
    • $30 
    • 30 mos
  • Dean Harmison  
    • $100 
    • 30 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Ethiopia Outreach 2020 (6)

Kirsten McLane 
San Antonio, TX
Amy Shoga 
Team member
Autumn Chidester 
Team member
Autumn Chidester 
Team member
Mahmoud Abdulbaki 
Team member
See all