Fulfilling Dreams to Improve Healthcare in Ethiopia

IOHPA & MATTER: Fulfilling Dreams to Improve Healthcare in Ethiopia

“The nurses have been asking for more birthing beds for the last ten years. The few they have are old and rusty, which can cause disease for the mothers and babies. I saw two pregnant women on a delivery bed and four women on the floor because there was not another bed for them to use.” 

Standing in the middle of MATTER’s warehouse, Dr. Nuredin Sule was describing to MATTER team members what he saw last year during a visit to the Chiro General Hospital in Chiro, Ethiopia. “I also saw premature babies laying on the floor because they don’t have enough baby warmers to put them in. These were just two of the difficult things I saw there, the pregnant mothers and the premature babies on the floor. I think about them all the time.”  

A native of Ethiopia, Dr. Sule moved to the United States in 1995 and is now a pharmacist in Atlanta. His interest in the Chiro General Hospital is personal. His mother passed away there and her brother, Dr. Sule’s uncle, is one of its surgeons. 

Serving a population of 2.5 million people in Eastern Ethiopia, Chiro General Hospital stands as a vital health center for the community. As a referral hospital, patients come from far and wide, often spending the last of their meager resources for the specialty care they can’t get elsewhere, including diagnostic workups and biopsies. Yet, despite its importance to the community, Chiro General Hospital is unable to give its patients the quality of healthcare they deserve.  

Dr. Obsa Hassan, center and Dr. Nuredin Sule, right

Enter Dr. Sule and his colleague, Dr. Obsa Hassan, a physician at Allina Health’s Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis and president of the International Oromo Health Professionals Association (IOHPA). IOHPA is a nonprofit organization of Oromo healthcare professionals in the US dedicated to helping the Oromo people in Ethiopia and around the world. Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. However, due to political persecution over several decades, Oromo communities can be found across the globe. In the United States, Minnesota is a popular destination for Oromo refugees and houses the largest population outside Ethiopia! 

One of the rooms at Chiro General Hospital

Upon learning of the needs of the Chiro Hospital, the IOHPA decided to spearhead the renovation of the hospital to improve healthcare in Ethiopia. Dr. Hassan reached out to MATTER to partner with them in procuring medical equipment and supplies. Demonstrating their commitment to the project, each member of IOHPA made a personal donation before asking the global Oromo community to contribute through a Go Fund Me account.  

The response from the global community was enthusiastic and in a short time, the project was funded. Once all the paperwork was secured and the equipment procured by MATTER, Dr’s Sule and Hassan, along with other members of the IOHPA, came to MATTER’s warehouse to help pack the shipping container that will carry them across the ocean to their new home in Ethiopia. Their excitement at seeing a year-long dream fulfilled was palpable as they spoke about the impact the equipment and supplies will have on the Chiro General Hospital. 

Said Dr. Sule, “There is not a word in the dictionary to describe how this is going to change people’s lives. I’m not exaggerating. I saw the condition of the hospital with my own eyes. When they receive these items, it will change everything for them!” 

Dr. Hassan added, “Everything we’re sending will have an immediate impact. More than that, it’ll boost morale, not only of the patients and workers but also the hospital administrators and the community in that area. They’ll say, ‘They left our country and made their home in America, but they didn’t forget about us.’” 

It’s people like Dr. Hassan and Dr. Sule, and organizations like IOHPA, which fuels the work of MATTER.  Whether it’s a hospital renovation in Ethiopia, an Innovation Hub in Zimbabwe, or healthy cooking classes in Minneapolis, MATTER exists to help individuals and organizations fulfill their dreams to make this world a better place.  

How do you want to change the world? If that sounds like an impossible dream, take some advice from Dr. Sule: 

“There’s a lot of people who say things can’t be done. But if you try, there are so many things you can do. I believe the purpose of human beings on this earth is to do good. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. That doesn’t define who you are. It’s about the people you touch, the lives you change. That’s what matters. That’s what determines the legacy you leave.”

MATTER is here to help you kickstart your purpose and leave a legacy that will affect generations to come. Contact us today and let’s do good together!