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The SOS Medical Centre saving lives in Ethiopia

The SOS Medical Centre in Jimma gives people like Esetu, pictured here, access to medical care they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford
The SOS Medical Centre in Jimma gives people like Esetu, pictured here, access to medical care they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford

For Esetu a visit to the doctor used to mean that her family would go without food. Like many of the residents of Jimma, Ethiopia, she would often make the difficult decision to stay at home in pain. Today, thanks to the SOS Medical Centre in Jimma, things couldn't be more different. 

Esetu lives with her elderly mother, young daughter and two of her grandchildren in the city of Jimma in Ethiopia. She is the sole breadwinner for the family and the family of five lives on just £50 a week.

Before the SOS Medical Centre opened in 2012, there was rarely enough money for Esetu and her family to visit the doctor when they fell ill. “We were extremely vulnerable,” says Esetu. “Seeing a doctor at a private or government hospital is expensive and would upset my budget, compromising my ability to feed my family.”

Giving the most vulnerable access to medical care

Things couldn’t be more different now. When Esetu recently fell ill with typhoid, a dangerous infection that can be deadly if not treated quickly, and her youngest granddaughter developed a severe skin infection, they were able to walk to the SOS Medical Centre just 10 minutes from her house.

There, for a fraction of the cost of a private hospital, they were treated by a doctor and seen by a health officer who gave Esetu advice on preventing future instances of typhoid in her home. 

The SOS Medical Centre in Jimma opened in 2012 and is run by a team of four. Over 80 patients receive treatment there every day and, in 2015, some 15,000 people made use of the Centre.

“I am on treatment and I am feeling better now,” she says. “I am very grateful that the low cost of the SOS Medical Centre means that I am still able to care for my family. I thank the SOS Medical Centre for helping us!”

Esetu playing with her grand-daughters
On the road to recovery: The rapid treatment Esetu received from the SOS Medical Centre means she is able to play with her grand-daughters again

Did you know that we run 76 Medical Centres across Africa, South America and Asia? Find out more. 

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