AHRI promotes partnerships for podoconiosis research in Ethiopia

Dr. Menberework Chanyalew shares this update from the AHRI podoconiosis (podo) team. As part of the consultative meeting on AHRI-led health research projects in the Amhara Region, held in Bahir Dar on November 18, 2022, key efforts were made to raise awareness about the podo-related research done in the region.

Consultative meeting on Health Research Projects in Amhara Region presentation slide
Introductory slide at the consultative meeting on health research projects in Amhara region, November 2022

High-level discussions were held in the presence of leaders from the Amhara Region Health Bureau, the Amhara Public Health Institute, Zonal Health Offices, Hospitals, Universities (Bahir Dar University, Debremarkos University, Injibara University, Debretabor University, & Gondar University), Science and Technology Commission, and Office of the President of Amhara Region.

Dr. Menberework Chanyalew raises awareness about the podoconiosis research done in the region.

A comprehensive picture of the journey of podo in Ethiopia ‘from neglect to priority public health problem’ was presented by Dr. Menberework. Moreover, in-depth insights were shared on the partnership of AHRI, Brighton and Sussex Medical School as well as the Amhara Public Health Institute on research being conducted on the immunopathogenesis of podo.

The emphasis was on combating podo as a collaborative team to address the unrealistic expectation by some of the patients and health workers that the research projects alone are able to solve every aspect of the disease. With the research projects having a limited budget and having to meet their specific objectives, the relevant health bureau was requested to work on the control and rehabilitation aspects of the disease.

AHRI team steps up advocacy through national TV broadcasting

Similarly, on December 10, 2022, the AHRI podo team stepped up its advocacy efforts by leveraging the access the Institute has to the National TV broadcasting media, FANA to disseminate key information integral to eradicating the disease.

A 15 min documentary aired on FANA aimed to make the general public aware of the disease, the endemicity in Ethiopia and the current podo research project being conducted at AHRI. There was a particular focus on how the disease can be prevented including demonstration of prevention methods such as wearing footwear and regular foot hygiene.

In addition, an appeal was directed by the Ministry of Health to organize those interested in humanitarian activities to support the availability of shoes for podo patients and people at risk of developing the disease, for example, those who live in endemic areas.

The AHRI podo team hopes to continue encouraging partnerships and collaboration among podo stakeholders and the wider public to advance disease control through all possible platforms.

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