Zewditu hospital inaugurates largest HIV facility

Offers counseling and testing services for the deaf and blind

Zewditu Hospital inaugurated an Outpatient Department (OPD) facility constructed at a cost of USD 3.1 million on Friday, May 24th. Eric Goosby (Amb.), US Global AIDS Coordinator, was at the inauguration ceremony.
The new OPD facility at the Empress Zewditu Memorial Hospital is the largest HIV facility in the country and offers comprehensive HIV and integrated mother-and-child health outpatient services. It will aid in the provision of a comfortable environment for patients and can accommodate more people who are in need of HIV medical services. The hospital currently treats more than 6,500 HIV-positive patients. It is also the first in Ethiopia to offer HIV care and treatment services particularly to blind and deaf patients. At the inaugural ceremony, Goosby said that the new facility will provide service to a minimum of 350 patients, on a daily basis. “I particularly applaud Zewditu Hospital for its tremendous effort to build the first site in Ethiopia that offers counseling and testing services for the deaf and blind,” said Goosby. The building furthermore is fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.
The OPD features ample space for patients including rooms for clinical, maternity, nursery, labor and delivery services. Also onsite are 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.  The OPD will also be used for physician and health worker training programs in Addis Ababa. 
The money for the construction of this new facility was obtained from the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Donald Booth, US Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Kebede Worku, State minister of Health, were among the guests that attended the inaugural ceremony held on Friday morning at the hospital.
Zewditu Hospital is one of PEPFAR Ethiopia’s largest and most comprehensive HIV care and treatment sites.  It was selected as the location for the first of a series of pilot HIV programs. In July 2003, Ethiopia’s first ART program started at Zewditu Hospital with the support of CDC Ethiopia and served HIV-positive patients from around the country for a nominal fee. Also in March 2005, the hospital began a free ART program through PEPFAR’s support.

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