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Taking treatment to the people in Ethiopia

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 29 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1472
  1. Peter J Watkins, consultant physician,
  2. Val Watkins, diabetes specialist nurse
  1. London

    Ethiopia is a huge country with a population of about 60 million, most of whom live in villages scattered far and wide in the dramatic mountainous landscape. Medical care is provided mainly in hospitals in the towns, with more limited facilities in rural health centres. Treatment for diabetes is available only in hospitals, which may be more than 200 kilometres from patients' homes.

    Access to these hospitals is by foot or mule, or by bus if the fare can be paid, and some patients may travel up to five days in each direction to receive their treatment. Diabetic clinics in Gondar in the north and Jimma in the south each care for about 500 patients, but it seemed obvious to us that many, quite understandably, fail to attend, and if they are insulin dependent, must be presumed …

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