Nov 5 , 2022

An emergency centre with a three billion Birr fund secured from the federal government is planned to erect in the Lebu area, on Addis Abeba's outskirts. The centre is designed to be the first specialised emergency hub under the Ministry of Health, with 600 beds.

A specialised emergency centre is vital for the number of emergencies related to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases is rising, according to Ayele Teshome (MD), a state minister for Health. It will also address a growing number of road traffic and injuries from accidents.

The Ministry is scheduling to float a bid to hire a contractor. Acute Engineering Plc was hired to undertake the centre's design a year ago. The design to erect the centre on a 6,000sqm plot is expected to be completed in a year. The company has been in business since 1997, working on road, hydropower and geotechnical projects.

Tikur Anbessa, the largest specialised hospital under Addis Ababa University, treats 20,000 patients daily with 1,000 beds and is staffed by 3,400 employees.

It started providing emergency services in a separate facility 15 years ago. The Hospital proposed a project to build an eight-floor facility inside the premises to serve as an emergency centre and hired Tekele Birhan Ambaye Construction Plc. The construction was discontinued for over five years after the company defaulted, with nearly 70pc of the construction completed. Four months ago, Homa Construction Plc was hired to finish the remaining work with 321 million Br within 10 months. However, the company delayed restarting the construction due to a foreign currency shortage.

"The government should prioritise delayed projects rather than building a new centre," said Demelash Gezahegn (MD), assistant professor and emergency service director at Tikur Anbesa Hospital.

The Hospital provides an emergency medical service for over 65 patients a day. But, they are not getting adequate treatment due to space limitations, said Demelash. He hopes to see the emergency centre completed.

The teaching hospital has provided a three-year emergency specialisation program for 15 years, graduating its seventh batch last year. Close to 100 specialised doctors and 15 emergency specialists work in its emergency department. They are part of 500 emergency service professionals across the country, many of whom are members of the Ethiopian Emergency Professionals Association (EEPA).

With less than 10 hospitals providing well-equipped emergency services with specialised medical professionals, there is a huge gap between the need and the number of trained emergency medical professionals, according to the Vice President of the Association, Lemelem Zerihun (MD). The emergency centre will contribute significantly to the health sector, she said.

However, investing in the workforce and well-trained professionals is essential.

Abet Emergency Centre was established nearly 10 years ago inside St. Paulos Hospital. Only 20pc of the emergency arrivals get proper assistance. This contributed to the devastating outcomes during the conflicts in the north, and the breakout of the global pandemic, said Menberu Sultan, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at St Paul's Hospital Millenium Medical College.

The Ministry initiated a road map preparation for the next 10 years two years ago, planning to make the country a medical treatment hub in East Africa. The centre is on the roadmap among two other projects: Dermatology & Plastic Surgery and Radiology Center. The Ministry anticipates building these three centres with a total cost of close to nine billion Birr, within three years.

The Dermatology & Plastic Surgery centres will be an eight-floor building with two basements serving as operating rooms. K2N Architecture & Engineering Consultancy Plc has been awarded to design the centre on 8,000 sqm of land inside the Alert Hospital compound.

QTC Consultancy is hired to undertake the design work for the Radiology centre that provides imaging services.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 05,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1175]

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