On our final day in Gondar, we had the opportunity to meet with the president of the University of Gondar, Dr Desalegne Mengesha, pictured below between Kyle and Terry. This meeting was an excellent ending to our Gondar experience. And, although we were sad to leave Gondar, we were excited to experience Addis.
We have noticed several differences in business practices in Ethiopia. One of the largest differences is the fluidity and flexibility of the schedule. We’ve learned that “beginning a meeting at 9:00 AM,” actually means “beginning a meeting anytime between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM,” and sometimes later. This ambiguity has definitely been an adjustment for our team of both FTMBAs and WPMBAs who are used to a detailed daily schedule.
Throughout the week in Addis, we visited the Addis Ababa University (AAU) Hospital, the Food Medicine Health Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Company (EPHARM).
In the picture below, we are on our way to visit the AAU Hospital in a Land Cruiser, which the university has graciously provided as our transportation for the week. (The traffic in Addis has been insane- very little signage, unclear right-of-way laws, and a few newly-implemented, but largely ignored, traffic lights. Cars in Ethiopia also share the road with large trucks carrying shipping containers, bajajs (AKA rickshaws), bikes, horses, cattle, goats, sheep, and copious pedestrians.)
Throughout the past two weeks of tours, the team has developed a thorough understanding of the healthcare supply chain here in Ethiopia. We have visited two hospitals, two pharmacies, one pharmaceutical manufacturer, and Ethiopia’s governing regulatory authority for healthcare. (Pictured below are Kelly and Arghya “scrubbing in” to surgery during one of our visits.)
One of the largest opportunities for improvement that has been identified and discussed during each of our visits is healthcare waste management. FMHACA has created a directive that details best practices for disposing of solid and liquid healthcare waste, but there are currently no hospitals or companies in Ethiopia that have the ability to adhere to these standards. One of the main reasons for this lack of compliance is the large expense associated with adhering to the directive. As a result, many of the hospitals and companies dispose of waste into local municipal landfills, local rivers, and in piles outside of the facilities. (Pictured below is a photo of a landfill that we observed outside of the city center of Addis Ababa.)
Looking into the week ahead, we are excited to visit a few more local companies and complete our final report for OneHealth!