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Key informants' perspectives on development of family medicine training programs in Ethiopia

Authors Gossa W, Wondimagegn D, Mekonnen D, Eshetu W, Abebe Z, Fetters M

Received 15 August 2015

Accepted for publication 27 October 2015

Published 27 April 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 261—269


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder

Weyinshet Gossa,1,2 Dawit Wondimagegn,3 Demeke Mekonnen,4 Wondwossen Eshetu,5 Zerihun Abebe,6 Michael D Fetters2

1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; 2Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; 3Department of Psychiatry, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, 4Department of Pediatrics, Jimma University, Jimma, 5Federal Ministry of Health, 6St Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Abstract: As a very low-income country, Ethiopia faces significant development challenges, though there is great aspiration to dramatically improve health care in the country. Family medicine has recently been recognized through national policy as one potential contributor in addressing Ethiopia's health care challenges. Family medicine is a new specialty in Ethiopia emerging in the context of family medicine development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Addis Ababa University family medicine residency program started in 2013 and is the first and the only family medicine program in the country as of March 2016. Stakeholders on the ground feel that family medicine is off to a good start and have great enthusiasm and optimism for its success. While the Ministry of Health has a vision for the development of family medicine and a plan for rapid upscaling of family medicine across the country, significant challenges remain. Continuing discussion about the potential roles of family medicine specialists in Ethiopia and policy-level strategic planning to place family medicine at the core of primary health care delivery in the country is needed. In addition, the health care-tier system needs to be restructured to include the family medicine specialists along with appropriately equipped health care facilities for training and practice. Key stakeholders are optimistic that family medicine expansion can be successful in Ethiopia through a coordinated effort by the Ministry of Health and collaboration between institutions within the country, other Sub-Saharan African countries, and international partners supportive of establishing family medicine in Ethiopia.

Keywords: primary health care, ethnography, residency program, Sub-Saharan Africa

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