The Best Hospital in Ethiopia

ribbonSo I'm a little biased, but I think that Soddo Christian Hospital has a chance to be the best hospital in Ethiopia.  Does that matter?  Is that something we should strive for?

In the United St.ates, the Christian church pioneered health care.  If you look around your town, chances are the hospitals are named things like St.. Luke's or Baptist Medical Center.  The reason is that Christians have always been at the forefront of caring for the sick among us.  It is the natural outworking of our faith.  When Jesus's disciples asked him, "Lord when did we see you sick and visit you?", he tells them that whatever they did "for the least of these" was done unto Him.  So Christians have often been found caring for the sick and disabled.

Now, when we look at the landscape of hospitals in Ethiopia, why shouldn't Soddo Christian Hospital be the best?  Our mission and vision states that we desire to provide excellent medical services.  This striving for excellence is an effort to glorify God in all we do (1 Cor. 10:31).  We want people in Ethiopia to look to Soddo Christian Hospital - a medium sized hospital in out-of-the-way Wolaitta - as raising the bar for health care in Ethiopia at the same time we are expanding God's kingdom.

When people ask me, why does a hospital in rural, southern Ethiopia need to be the standard bearer for the country, I point them to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  At around 100,000 inhabitants, Rochester is not even among the top 200 most populous cities in the US.  Yet many patients flock to receive care at the Mayo Clinic, and it has consistently been ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country.  It is also considered one of the best places to work in the St.ates.

So, Soddo Christian Hospital could be the Mayo Clinic of south Ethiopia!  Soddo, like Rochester, has close to 100,000 population.  And out of the 150 or so hospitals spread across Ethiopia, patients are choosing to come all the way down here to get their care.  We are proud to be setting a new standard for health care in Ethiopia, and pray that it will give us opportunities to treat more patients and witness to the glory of Christ.

What's Your Specialty?

At Soddo Christian Hospital, we offer all types of general and specialized care.  Here's a sampling of specialized services that we offer at Soddo Christian Hospital:

  • We have an outpatient department with an emergency room and non-urgent primary care.  We see pediatric and adult patients.  Our general medical staff includes a US-trained pediatrician, emergency physician, family nurse practitioner, and tropical disease expert.  We have a European-trained geriatrician, as well as a national internal medicine specialist who sees clinic patients and inpatients.
  • We have two, that's right TWO, US-trained general and trauma surgeons.  They serve as the primary faculty advisors for the general surgery residency program at the hospital.  (Yes, we are a teaching hospital affiliated with the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons).  This team performs other surgeries as well including a fair amount of urologic procedures.
  • Orthopedic Surgery - we have a US-trained orthopedic surgeon and perform a full gamut of bone and joint surgeries with pediatric and adult patients, including arthroscopic surgery!
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology - our US-trained obstetrician and team of midwives perform deliveries and C-sections as well as expert gynecology services.
  • Subspecialties are available on an occasional basis.  Through World Medical Mission, we have plastic surgeons, ENT (ear, nose & throat), urologists, and neurosurgeons come and work in Soddo on a frequent basis.

As you can see, we are well staffed to take care of all types of emergent and non-emergent conditions!

Does a mission hospital treat everyone?

This is a question that we get asked a lot.  So we wanted to address it.  And the answer is... yes!

Our hospital is a mission hospital.  You can read all about our mission and values here.  But suffice it to say, that we exist not just to treat people with excellent medical care, but to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples.

But do we treat anyone who comes in the door, no matter what their faith or background?  Of course we do!  We are proud to serve the people of this part of Ethiopia.  Fortunately, as our reputation has grown, now we are also seeing patients referred to us from all over the country.  And these patients come from all types of backgrounds.  Some are Ethiopian Orthodox, some are Muslim, some are animistic, and some are Protestant.  We see and treat them all.

In the hospital, our staff will offer to pray with patients regardless of their background.  We believe that a person's health should be attended to physically and spiritually.  We find that our patients really respond to the fact that we care about them in this wholistic manner.

Often, if a patient is open to hearing about it, we will share with them the life-giving message of the Gospel.  We don't force it.  But we do give them the opportunity to hear.  We play the Jesus Film in the hospital.  We will often provide a Bible in Amharic.  By God's grace, we have seen over 500 patients profess faith in Christ since the hospital opened its doors.  But even for those that kindly decline, we aim to provide excellent care just the same.