Health ministries have been part of the Presbyterian presence in Ethiopia since the 1950’s when a Presbyterian physician began providing health care for the Oromo people at Dembi Dollo. Since then health clinics and community health programs have been established in the five Presbyterian-related Bethel Synods of PC(USA)’s partner, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.
The rural health facilities of the Bethel Synods are small, poorly-equipped and understaffed. Malnutrition, intestinal parasites, and complications of labor and delivery are common health problems. Malaria is prevalent in some areas. In the southwest region bordering Sudan, outbreaks of violence cause frequent cases of serious injury. Throughout the country, HIV/AIDS is a critical health issue.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is a new model of training and outreach to address to local needs with Christ-centered responses. Leaders of the five Bethel synods are being introduced to CHE, learning how local resources and Gospel teachings can be combined in a holistic response to meet practical needs such as clean water, improved sanitation and literacy.
In southwest Ethiopia, the Suri Health Project, a specialized ministry to the Suri people, has been supported by PC(USA) for more than 15 years.
The health ministries of the EECMY Bethel Synods are funded through PC(USA) Account E862141. The Ethiopia Mission Network supports a variety of ministries in Ethiopia.
Suri Health Project
The Suri Health Project provides care to the isolated population of a region in southwest Ethiopia, bordering Sudan. The Suri people are cattle herders and subsistence farmers, living in primitive conditions in an often violent culture. PC(USA) mission co-workers the Rev. John Haspels and his wife, Gwen, a registered nurse, have lived among the Suri people for more than 10 years. A clinic at Tulagit provides health services, and community health workers are being trained to provide immunizations, prenatal care and health education.
The Suri Health Project is supported through PC(USA) Account E862764.