December 20, 2013(Dire Dawa): Today, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and U.S. Embassy PEPFAR Coordinator Dr. Carmela Abate inaugurated a new outpatient annex at Dil Chora Hospital in Dire Dawa in the presence of Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Kesetebirhan Admassu, Mayor Assed Ziyad and distinguished State Ministers.
The people of United States through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have provided USD $3 million (55 million ETB) for the construction of this new integrated services facility. Dil Chora Hospital serves a population of approximately 5 million in Dire Dawa and neighboring Oromia and Somali regions. With HIV prevalence at 3.4 % in Dire Dawa and with about 7000 individuals having received HIV care at the facility, the new annex will provide those in need with greater access to treatment and will help reduce Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) rates.
The hospital currently offers comprehensive HIV and integrated mother and child health outpatient services and currently treats more than 2000 HIV positive patients.
The new facility was designed based on U.S. health facility standards necessary to maintain a welcoming and safe environment and will reduce the stigma that is associated with visiting the current “ART Clinic” used to treat and counsel HIV/AIDS. Patients will be able now to visit the new outpatient department (OPD) with a greater sense of anonymity, thus increasing the number of patients who seek treatment and counseling.
The three-story OPD built on 2,150 square meters features ample space for patients and a conducive working environment for health workers. It includes rooms for clinical, maternity, nursery, labor and delivery services and accommodates ultrasound facilities, family planning services, adult and pediatric antiretroviral treatment (ART), and a tuberculosis (TB) examination room with a separate waiting area for TB patients. In addition, the building is fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dire Dawa City Administration Health Bureau have provided technical assistance for the implementation of the project. The construction of this facility is part of the U.S. government’s overall assistance to help strengthen the health services across Ethiopian public health institutions to help achieve PEPFAR’s goal of an AIDS-Free Generation in Ethiopia.