Where Are We?
Why Hakim Gizaw
This project was conceived and developed by the founder, Asrat Gizaw, son of Hakim Gizaw Wolde Meskel. Mr. Gizaw was a retired employee of 37 years for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
He was born and raised in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia the location of the HGMH project and an area of abject poverty where many are beset by famine and epidemics owning to food shortages and lack of decent health services. Mr. Gizaw felt profoundly indebted to the people of the area who had made direct and indirect contributions towards his education even when this meant that they often would go without meals or decent clothing. Therefore, the hospital may be seen as a token of gratitude to the people of the area and a modest contribution towards improvement of their well-being.
This kind of gesture will hopefully inspire others to contribute to this and other similar ventures driven by similar ideas. It is hoped that this will thus serve as a link in a chain of proactive actions that will lead to the reversal of the downward spiral in the well-being of the people.
On December 24, 2010 Mr. Gizaw passed away at the age of 76, the project will be continued by his family and friends.
WHERE ARE WE?
Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is Africa's oldest independent country. Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa, and officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 85.2 million people, and the tenth-largest by area, with its 1,100,000 km2. It is slightly less than twice the size of Texas. The capital is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. It is also the most populous landlocked country in the world.
Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history, and the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 2nd century BC. Ethiopia is also one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today, having yielded some of humanity's oldest traces. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. When Africa was divided up by European powers at the Berlin Conference, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence. It was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. After a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa.
Health is an important factor in human well-being. Individuals, communities and nations invest a lot of resources in health care. In the more developed countries, health has become one of the most important industries and is viewed as a powerful social and political instrument. Health situations, especially in urban areas, are bound to evolve relatively rapidly because of the epidemiological/health transition. Economically, it is also a large and beneficial market. The developments in science and technology have spurred tremendous and continuous changes in health care systems.
Hospitals play a key role in health, although sometimes controversial. They account for the highest proportion of health expenditure all over the world; but, by their very nature, they tend to concentrate in big towns where they serve only a minority of the population.
Ethiopia is in dire need of hospital care given that the few services available in its towns are under-funded, understaffed and overcrowded. Consequently, hospitals suffer from chronic shortage in almost every aspect of health services and therefore, provide inadequate care. With the present trend where hospital care remains a public sector domain, emphasis will be placed to meet a large chunk of the public demand on the private sector.
The present project proposal is prepared as a response to the above-mentioned challenging demands and opportunities. The prevailing situation and future trends in health care requirements in Debre Berhan and its surrounding areas have all been taken into account.
The Mission of Hakim Gizaw Memorial Hospital is, therefore, to contribute to the improvement of people's well-being, by providing accessible medical care at cost.
It is envisaged that the hospital will be an exemplary participant in the health field by offering health care at a high technical and ethical standard.
WHY HAKIM GIZAW?
Hakim Gizaw, in whose memory the hospital is named after, he was born in Tegulet (Northern Shoa), Ethiopia in 1880. He attended his primary education in Debre Berhan. According to Prof. Richard Pankhurst "Gizaw, was one of the first two Ethiopians to be sent for medical studies to Russia during Menelik's reign".
In 1909, Emperor Menelik II built the first general hospital at the site of the old Russian hospital.. The hospital was at its inception under the direction of Mr. Rousseau, Dr. Ganier and Dr. L'Herminier "...Its staff also included Gizaw and Dagne, the two young Ethiopians who studied medicine in Russia". They were called Hakims, which meant physicians. Hakim Gizaw was honored to treat Emperor Menelik II, and attended to Empress Zewditu as her private physician.
Later in life, Hakim Gizaw served as the Medical Director of the Debre Berhan Hospital, where he had his lifelong aspiration and opportunity to serve the people of his village and the population at large. He gained popularity and respect for his profession and dedication to duty, until he died in 1965.
Therefore, it is in the memory of this pioneer physician that the HAKIM GIZAW MEMORIAL HOSPITAL is dedicated to immortalize his services to his country and to his fellow Ethiopians.