SCOPE Update March 2013
Why is it important for Ethiopian Orthodox priests to know about HIV? In northern Ethiopia, priests are held in far higher esteem than are health professionals. So, in a country where there are only 2,000 medical doctors and 500,000 priests, it is essential that these trusted members of the community be involved. SCOPE has discovered that priests and soul fathers—when aligned with the medical community to facilitate education and reduction of stigma—provide an indispensible link between their people and HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment.
In February, SCOPE completed its first HIV/AIDS training for twenty-five priests  in Gondar, Ethiopia. SCOPE fellow, Kefyalew Addis and SCOPE advisor, Dr. Getahun, planned and implemented this successful six-day program. For a full report, please see:

"Ideas matter. We need clever ideas to address the issues of HIV/AIDS. And SCOPE is a huge idea."
       ~Dr. Afewerk. Director of Research and Community Services,
         University of Gondar

 SCOPE director, Nancy Andrews, was asked to present the details of SCOPE’s innovative partnership and projects to a meeting of department heads at the University of Gondar. Dr. Afewerk is highly supportive of SCOPE’s partnership between medicine and religious leaders and has organized a task force of several department leaders, from Gender Studies and Social Work to Midwifery, interested in collaborating in our work. SCOPE looks forward to developing these new and exciting relationships.
 "It is amazing that priests—who never talk about sex—are, today, being taught about a sexually transmitted disease."
        ~Dr. Afewerk, on SCOPE’s priest training project

We rely on your generosity and private donations, both large and small, to continue our programs. Your donation will support:
  • New partnership with the University of Washington Global Woman and Children Program (WACh) aimed at educating pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Our goal is not just healthier babies, but healthier mothers who survive the disease and are able to watch their children grow up.
  • Training religious leaders in Gondar on HIV-AIDS prevention and control.
  • The exemplary research by our fellows from the University of Washington and the University of Gondar Public Health Program. 
 Click here to donate.
We sincerely appreciate your fully tax-deductible, charitable gift that supports our continued work to eradicate HIV-AIDS in Ethiopia.  Gifts to SCOPE are made through the University of Washington Foundation. 100% of your gift goes directly to SCOPE.
We know how to prevent transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their babies. We don't know why more pregnant women in Ethiopia are not using these services.

New SCOPE UW Fellow Zerai Asgedom set out to find the answer.  

Zerai grew up in southern Ethiopia and both of his parents had only an early elementary school education. While a freshman at Addis Ababa University, Zerai entered the Diversity "lottery"; he was randomly selected as a winner and arrived in Seattle in 2002. After completing his nursing prerequisites at Shoreline Community College, he was admitted to Seattle Pacific University where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. He currently works on the Organ Transplant Unit at Swedish Medical Center.

In addition to his nursing work, Zerai is also a Masters of Public Health student at the University of Washington.  As part of his MPH program, he applied for the SCOPE fellowship to work on SCOPE's new Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS project in collaboration with GLOBALWACh.  You can read his proposal at our website:

Zerai has been back in Ethiopia for two months. He’s done a tremendous job gathering information about the Gondar-area health centers and interviewing priests and pregnant women to set the stage for SCOPE’s pilot PMTCT project. We look forward to the results of his work!

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