Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Preparing Medically

Preparing Medically

Healthcare in a developing nation is likely to be very different to the situation in your home country. Over the years we have worked with the SIM clinic to prepare our incoming staff to be as medically ready for life in Addis Ababa as possible. Please read the information below very carefully and email hannele.secchia@binghamacademy.net if you have questions. 

Vaccination Requirements

All adults and children coming to Ethiopia must complete immunisations for the following diseases before arrival. This is non-negotiable for a placement at Bingham Academy. Bring with you a full record of all of your vaccinations for these diseases, primary courses as well as boosters. This will allow the SIM clinic to advise you and manage your vaccination status in the future.

  • Diptheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Meningococcal meningitis (ACWY)
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies*
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Yellow Fever (obtaining the official certificate)
  • A 'flu vaccination should also be obtained if possible, depending on your home country's protocols.

It can take several months to complete the course of vaccinations, so it is vital that you speak with your medical care professionals as soon as you begin to think about coming to Bingham Academy. 

It is essential that you do not accept different advice about these vaccinations from your own medical care professional, travel clinic, health department or other advisors about vaccinations. There is a broad misunderstanding of what treatment is and is not available in Ethiopia. 

A printable list of all of these vaccinations is available here


children

All children coming to Ethiopia must be up to date on their home country's vaccination programme for the age they will be on arrival. If some of these vaccination courses are incomplete the additional doses needed must be brought with you. We are extremely unlikely to be able to complete vaccination courses. You must check that the expiry date covers when the vaccine needs to be administered, and you will need to ensure a reliable "cold chain" to get the vaccine(s) here in good condition. We can store them properly for you and administer them when required. 

Sending countries have different programmes, but by the age of 6 a child would usually be expected to have been vaccinated against: diptheria; tetanus; pertussis (whooping cough); polio; haemophilus influenzae B (HIB); pneumococcus; meningococcus C (some countries); measles; mumps; rubella (German Measles); rotavirus; varicella (chicken pox - some countries); hepatitis A (some countries); hepatitis B (some countries); and influenza (some countries).

Please note that the list at the top of the page indicates that in addition to these expected childhood vaccinations, all children must also be vaccinated for meningococal ACWY, typhoid, *rabies and yellow fever.

A printable list of all of these vaccinations is available here


*Rabies

Rabies is rife in Ethiopia. It kills 40-60 people every year and this is not declining. It is spread by dog bites mostly, although cats, monkeys, bats and most other mammals can carry it. In Addis Ababa there are at least 150,000 dogs, half of which are strays and thousands of which are rabid. Most are not vaccinated.

*There is no cure for rabies and

IF YOU DEVELOP RABIES, YOU WILL DIE.

the good news is that it

can always be preventeD!

Doctors and travel health professionals at home usually assume that rabies can be treated in-country, but the after-exposure treatment for an unvaccinated person is never available in Ethiopia. See additional information here about rabies from our SIM Ethiopia Staff Physician. 


All staff MUST know their blood group. Parents should also know the blood group of all their children. This information should be recorded into the vaccination booklet for future reference. This is for your own safety in case of trauma.

Blood Groups


All staff MUST have medical evacuation insurance. The name of the insurance plan, policy number, phone/fax number ( not a 1-800 or toll free number), and expiry date of coverage must be left with the Bingham Academy HR office and the SIM clinic upon arrival in the country. Information regarding physician/specialist in the home country must also be supplied. This is necessary for evacuation; if you don't supply it the evacuation company will choose a doctor for you.

Medical Evacuation Insurance


Malaria Prophylaxis

Anti-malarial medication is not required in Addis Ababa due to the high altitude but it is required for most areas outside of the capital (e.g. if you take a holiday or visit another ministry outside of Addis). Therefore it is important to think ahead about your preferred anti-malarial to bring supplies with you.

Mefloquine is one option for prophylaxis but it is sometimes not available in Ethiopia. For those people unable to take mefloquine, doxycycline is the next best choice but this cannot be prescribed to children under 12 years of age. Doxycycline is available in Ethiopia. Malarone is a good choice for a short visit to a malarial area but it is expensive and never available in Ethiopia. The SIM clinic tries to keep a small supply of mefloquine and Malarone, but this is only to fill in gaps of coverage, not to supply missionaries regularly. Please bring your malaria prophylaxis from your home country. Primaquine is a cheap anti-malarial for both adults and children if mefloquine, Malarone and doxycycline cannot be used. However, a test for G6PD deficiency is mandatory before taking primaquine so you might like to have this simple blood test before departure. 

Chloroquine and/or proguanil are NOT options as there is resistance to these drugs in Ethiopia.

You may hear some people recommend "artemesia tea" as a malaria prophylactic. Ignore this advice - it doesn't work and can cause resistance to currently effective malaria treatments.

Bringing your own permethrin-impregnated nets is a good idea, especially for children and babies. Self-supporting ones that don't need a hook in the ceiling are available in some countries, to fit single or double beds. Impregnated mosquito nets are sometimes available in Ethiopia. A good supply of insect repellant containing at a minimum 50% DEET should be brought from your home country.


Medicines

Many essential drugs are available in the country. However that is not always the case. Medical professionals may not be aware of this. Drugs that are available include most basic analgesics (e.g. paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen), older antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, co-trimoxazole, ("Bactrim", "Septrim")). However if you take a prescription drug, it would be safest to bring a good supply with you when you first arrive. If the prescription medicine is not available in the country, this supply will give you time to try to obtain it from an outside source. At least three months lead time is needed to order medicines from outside the country. These medicines must NOT be sent through the post; someone must bring them in person. If you are in any doubt, please contact the SIM Healthcare Coordinator well before your arrival.


SIM CLINIC

All staff and their families who work at Bingham have access to the SIM clinic, regardless of their sending organisation. This clinic is currently staffed by a British doctor and his staff. There is an on-compound clinic once a week so that teachers don't have to miss classes to drive across town to SIM HQ. For anything that can't wait, there is the option to book an appointment and go over to the clinic. This is a great reassurance to our staff. If necessary you can be referred on to appointments for specialists, including X-rays, laboratory work and other diagnostics within Addis.

It is essential that you provide medical staff with information about any medical needs before you arrive in Ethiopia, so that they can anticipate your requirements and let you know how best to prepare medically for your time in the country. Please fill in the baseline medical form for each member of your family and send it to Bingham four months before you arrive - or as soon as possible if you are engaged with less than four months notice. A letter from your physician should be included if you have any pre-existing medical conditions that might require medical treatment while you are  in Ethiopia. This should include a statement that the physician agrees with you coming to a developing country as well as further recommendations regarding medial care and treatment. 

SIM and Bingham Academy cannot take responsibility for your treatment and medical care if you come with a known condition that cannot be monitored or treated in Ethiopia.


At the moment, there are fairly good dental services available in Addis Ababa for basic treatment as well as orthodontics. The SIM Clinic can provide you with contact details for those they recommend. Bigger problems may need to be referred to Kenya or your home country

Dental Services


Children can be seen at the SIM Clinic. Please see the notes above regarding vaccinations for children - the likelihood is that vaccines will not be available but if you contact the SIM Clinic they will be able to give you more information.  

Paediatric Services