The FMU So Far (Larry’s thoughts)

Today is April 14 and it’s about time to give an update on our Family Medicine Unit.

First, some numbers.

Currently, our clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and Saturday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. All patients are charged a registration fee of 35 Ethiopian Birr ($1.19 US).

Since opening on January 14, 2019, we have had 142 visits, 50 of which have been return visits. I (Larry) don’t have the official stats in front of me, but approximately half of our clientele are South Sudanese Refugees.

Smile! Opening Day (obligatory) group photo. Hard to believe it’s been three months already!

Student service in the FMU is voluntary, although scholarship students are expected to serve a few hours each week. That said, 87 different students have served at least once in the FMU.

Dr. Roger Holland (seated, center) is the Dean of the medical college. He is willing to help share the responsibilities of precepting patients in the FMU. Here, Dr. Roger is showing Mahlet (first-year) about effective note-taking. Nati Girma (standing, center, against the far wall), one of our all-star chaplains, meets with a young South Sudanese patient.

We have a team of three chaplains who rotate serving at the FMU. They are our front-line, greeting and helping with triage.

M&M teaching G&K.jpg
Clinical students (seniors) are willing to take the lead in training the first-years. Here, Melkamu (far left) and Mihretab (top left) expound upon taking patient histories with Kaleb (top right) and Gemechu (bottom right).

Now, the big picture.

The students are learning!!! The students are getting hands-on training at patient-centered care. Very few students in Africa have the opportunity to care for their own patients. The students are scheduling appointments when they can see their patients for follow-ups. Our students are offering high-quality care to those who cannot afford care elsewhere and likely have not seen a doctor in years. The students are learning what it means to actually see the patients as created in the image of God and deserving personal care. Laura and I are stunned at how quickly the students have taken to this opportunity and how much they have grown… especially the first-year students! They are bought in to the idea of learning patient-centered care. They recognize that the culture of medicine in Ethiopia needs a major overhaul and that they are part of the future. They want to be part of the change!

It is an honor to be a part of this ministry. And yes, it is a ministry. All who come to the FMU have the opportunity to receive prayer during visits. All of our patients receive personal care where students and doctors call them by name, make physical contact with them, and offer them hope.

Your turn. We need your prayers.

  1. Please pray for continued positive relationships with the hospital.
  2. We need more patients! Pray for the word to spread about our little clinic.
  3. With more patients, we need more servant-minded workers. Pray for God to send us at least two clerks to share the load in the registration office. We need at least one more doctor to rotate with Laura and Roger.
  4. Pray for continued financial support. We need more point-of-care materials, storage/organizational materials, and grant money to support the patients who need it.

Thank you for your continued support!

Oh, would you like to come for a visit?


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