NEW YORK (Feb. 27)
A group of leaders of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC) recently returned from a mission to Ethiopia where they dedicated a health center at Teda in the Gondar region of Ethiopia.
The trip was organized in response to an invitation from the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and was led by JDC Board chairman Henry Taub and JDC executive vice president Saul Cohen.
According to a report to the JDC Board of Directors issued by Taub and Cohen following the return of the mission, the dedication of the rural health center at Teda was a major purpose of the trip. The center was constructed with funds provided by JDC. The report also noted that JDC had agreed to initiate an agricultural development project providing seeds, tools, fertilizers, insecticides, oxen and plows to farmers in the Teda and Gaynt sub-districts.
For this purpose, JDC has received a grant of $843,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development, to which it will add $1.2 million over a three-year period from the Ethiopian Relief Open Mailbox Fund. Donations to the Fund should be marked Ethiopia and mailed to JDC, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
FIRST STEP IN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
According to the report, the Teda health center is seen by local planners as the first step in a rural health care system intended to serve as a national model for primary care and preventive medicine.
Future projects being considered by JDC, the report indicated, include an annex at the health center to house a training facility for village health workers, the purchase of an ambulance needed to transport seriously ill patients to the regional hospital and a mobile clinic to reach remote villages. Electrification and the completion of a new water supply for Teda are also being funded by the JDC.
Also confirmed during the mission were plans for JDC support for the construction of a polyclinic in the town of Gondar and a feasibility study to be followed by investment in modern equipment for the women’s cooperative ceramics workshop in the village of Woleka.
The report noted that JDC’s hosts during the mission were appreciative of “our provision of aid on a non-sectarian basis, and sensitive to our desire to focus JDC effort on that part of the country which contains the bulk of Ethiopia’s remaining Jews.”