The HIV/AIDS pandemic has deeply affected Ethiopia. Adult prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia stands at about 2%. HIV/AIDS has led to a seven-year decrease in life expectancy and a greatly reduced workforce. As with many crises, youth are left disproportionately affected. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 million children total in Ethiopia have been orphaned by AIDS. Significant numbers of children orphaned by AIDS have been left to raise families in what are known as “child-headed households”. These children are forced to nurture their younger siblings including food, clothing and shelter.
Since its inception, People to People has strived to build a bridge between the diaspora and institutions in Ethiopia. Our vision has been to harness the immense human capital of the global Ethiopian diaspora to address the severe shortage of physicians, health professionals, and the medical & health infrastructure and systems. P2P continues to facilitate and support visiting diaspora physicians and professionals who give their time in-country to give lectures, do rounds, conduct trainings, or otherwise support their peers. Through partnering of hospitals and universities in Ethiopia with their counterparts in North America, Europe, and across the globe, there is even greater potential to fill in the gaps and enhance Ethiopia’s overall healthcare system.
(2007-2010) With the support of a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, in 2007, P2P established a youth center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The center was equipped with internet and a research library that provided relevant information on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and family planning services with the aim to slow down the rate of population growth and HIV incidence among youths between the ages of 15 and 30. (2005) Through a partnership with The Pfizer Foundation, P2P supplied the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia with the drug Fluconazol (also known as Diflucan) to be used in the treatment of AIDS patients with systemic fungal infections. (2002) P2P was awarded a grant from The Pfizer Foundation that was used to educate high school students in three regions of Ethiopia (Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray) about HIV prevention and transmission through behavioral changes. A total of 170 students, school administrators and health care workers have been educated on HIV/AIDS prevention.
People To People Inc has been involved in multiple tasks and programs since 1999. At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 90’s and early 2000’s , in Ethiopia where millions of people were infected, affected and dying from the disease, People To People Inc played an important role in fighting the disease in the face of policy challenges, lack of antiretroviral medication, lack of medications to treat opportunistic infections, lack of diagnostics, and changing the knowledge, attitude and practice towards the prevention of HIV and AIDS at the time. By coordinating physicians in the US and globally P2P launched capacity building programs that revolved around public education – prevention, treatment , palliative care; launched Hospice training in Ethiopia ; initiated lectures and workshops on defending HIV/ AIDs patients and victims and their rights; and it supported high schools anti-AIDS groups in Ethiopia . In the clinical front, P2P lobbied for a free antifungal medication Fluconazole, to treat the rampant fungal infections affecting HIV patients; it launched the Horn of Africa Journal of AIDS to broaden the understanding about the disease in the scientific community; it conducted a broad based study of the natural history of HIV/AIDS ; studied the impact of anti-AIDS group on the youth in order to support policy makers; and conducted a survey in the area of knowledge, attitude and practice regarding the prevention of HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia.
One of People to People Inc’s key areas of interventions is improving global health security. Recent infectious disease outbreaks with pandemic potential, like Ebola, Lassa, Zika, MERS-CoV, plague, cholera, and influenza1 are reminders of the significance of these threats and the range of gaps in capabilities to prevent, detect, assess, and respond in countries worldwide. Disease crises can destabilize governments by eroding public trust and confidence, posing a threat to public order and governance and producing an overall risk to security and economies. These are cross-sectoral challenges. For example, animal disease outbreaks can threaten food security, disrupt local economics, lead to human disease outbreaks, and erode social fabrics in vulnerable societies. Large outbreaks and pandemics have significant and long-lasting impacts on national, regional, and global economies. The recent SARS-CoV 2 pandemic has resulted in global mortality and morbidity, crippling health systems, economies, and social order. P2P was involved in tackling the COVID-19 epidemic in developing countries of Africa, by providing webinars on prevention, emergency preparedness, rights of victims in the area of COVID-19; vaccination education; assisting countries and governments in strengthening National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), and studying its impact on the public health systems of developing countries.