Philoptochos Supports Construction of IOCC Clinic and School in Ethiopia
Baltimore, MD (September 23, 2005) — At a meeting of its National Board, held in Boston, Mass. on September 17, 2005, the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society committed its support for a $60,000 project to develop a medical clinic and school in Ambo, Ethiopia to be constructed by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
IOCC executive director Constantine M. Triantafilou made a presentation on the project to the Philoptochos National Board, extending gratitude for the support which comes just one week after Philoptochos made a $50,000 contribution to IOCC’s relief efforts along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“The generous support of the Ladies Philoptochos Society enables IOCC to continue to respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters overseas even as we face one of the biggest disasters in the United States,” said Triantafilou.
A portion of the proceeds from the Tenth Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon to be hosted by the Philoptochos Society on Dec. 3, 2005 in Dallas, Texas will support the medical clinic. Additional fundraising efforts by the Philoptochos Society chapters will make construction of the school possible.
The 6-room medical clinic will be located in the West Showa Diocese in the Oromiya Region of Ethiopia. The clinic will adjoin a school and serve the area’s population at large, but also specifically focus on the provision of free medical care and free primary education to HIV and AIDS-infected orphans.
Ambo’s population is rapidly growing due to its status as a center for industry, trade and jobs. The town’s infrastructure, however, is ill-suited to support this influx of people and the current government-run health facilities are over-burdened, under-staffed and poorly equipped. The health status of the region ranks among the lowest in the country.
“The important support extended by Philoptochos Society will help deliver significant services which address the tremendous needs of Ethiopia’s children — especially those infected with HIV and AIDS,” said Bishop Andonios, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Director of Philanthropy who visited Ethiopia earlier this year and met with Church officials.
Data from 2004 indicates that less than half of Ethiopians have access to health services. The national coverage for immunization has only achieved only a third of its goal of full immunization. Malaria is the leading cause of outpatient visits, admissions in hospitals and deaths for both infants and adults. It is estimated that 1.4 million Ethiopians are HIV-positive. Approximately 120,000 Ethiopians die from AIDS-related causes per year and there are more than one million HIV/AIDS orphans in the country.
The clinic will include a much-needed medical diagnostic and treatment clinic to serve the population of Ambo and the surrounding villages. The clinic will be outfitted with modern equipment and staff trained not only in advanced medical treatment and care, but also in care, support and counseling techniques for people living with HIV/AIDS. The adjoining school will provide free education for children aged 4 to 6.
IOCC has been active in Ethiopia since 2001, when it began supporting small-scale agricultural projects in partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s relief office, the Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission. IOCC and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are also in the second year of a three-year, $6 million project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to offer faith-based community care to nearly 9,000 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, provide palliative care to more than 26,000 people living with HIV/AIDS by 2007 and prevent future infections of the disease.
Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).