Jimma University leadership and top management from Operation Smile discussed ways to strengthen their partnership to improve patient service and education at the Jimma University Medical Center (JUMC).
During the meeting, the various contributions made by Operation Smile over the past two decades were highlighted, including the provision of comprehensive cleft care for patients, establishment of the Anesthesiology department, renovation of the Pediatric ICU and Burn unit, supply of equipment, and payment of top-up salaries to retain healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jemal, President of Jimma University, recognized Operation Smile for its long-term commitment to improving healthcare and education. He further expressed his gratitude for their continued support and contributions towards improving patient service at the JUMC. He also highlighted the need for more partnerships like this to advance healthcare and education in the region.
During the discussion, Mrs. Karen Jaques, V/P Sub-Saharan Africa at Operation Smile, stated that the organization supports education initiatives in African countries based on their stage of development and needs. She appreciated the leadership and infrastructure provided for the care and supports the comprehensive cleft care at JUMC.
Dr. Elizabeth Cote, V/P of Global Medical Education, talked about aligning medical education with local needs in accordance with Jimma University’s motto ‘We are in the community.’ She also emphasized the importance of the vibrant cleft clinic, which makes good ground to attract funding and support.
Both parties emphasized the importance of building local capacity and integrating sustainable service delivery. They agreed that improving learning and teaching areas in the hospital and enhancing capacity-building efforts to fill skill gaps in surgical care, specifically in cleft care, would be critical to achieving this objective.