Research ethics in Ethiopia

By Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
College of Optometry

ImageI was hosted by Dr. Seleshe Nigatu of the University of Gondar as I opened the research ethics class in the Summer Institute with a discussion of the Tuskegee Study. The study is the U.S.’s 1978 Belmont Report with its basic principles of respect for persons, beneficence/nonmaleficence, and justice. The class of almost 60 people from the University of Gondar and Addis Ababa University, along with other Ethiopian institutions of higher learning, had expertise ranging across medicine, veterinary medicine, economics, and pharmacy. The photographs depict the engaged students. In the late afternoon, the participants tackled their first two case studies, one on Image

reporting of results to an industry sponsor and the other an accurate analysis of a case of subtle plagiarism but plagiarism nonetheless. Tomorrow, the class tackles animal care and use in research and biorepositories (thanks to Donna McCarthy and Mark Merrick and their lecture materials).


The transition from Addis Ababa to Gondar was ably assisted by advice from Dr. Jodi Ford from the College of Nursing, who taught research methods at the University of Gondar earlier in July.

Environmental health is a priority for Ethiopia partnership

By Michael Bisesi, PhD
Ohio State College of Public Health

Since my arrival on July 7, we have accomplished several activities. As an environmental health scientist, I was able to teach applicable modules to a wonderful group of grad students, clinicians (veterinarians, physicians, nurses) and scientists.


Addis Ababa University students listen as Dr. Bisesi lectures.

The modules included lectures and discussions regarding the properties of various environmental matrices (air, water, soil) and the fate of microbial and chemical contaminants that can adversely affect plants, animals, and humans.

An extension from the classroom included a field trip and qualitative assessment of the waste water treatment facility for the city of Addis Ababa. This was very enlightening since it demonstrated a system that has insufficient capacity for the volume of polluted waste water originating from municipal, industrial, hospital and runoff sources. The surrounding adjacent areas had fields growing crops, animals drinking and feeding, and humans using this area as a resource.


This river runs through the Kera region of Addis Ababa. People use the river to irrigate crops.


Field hands work near a large amount of foam caused by water pollution in the Kera region of Addis Ababa.

I also visited the slaughterhouse and tannery which have some pollution control technologies and practices in place. Observation of the river and surrounding land confirms suspicions that multiple sources are contributing to environmental pollution that impacts animal and human health. Our integrated approach to address this will bring results, but much work lies ahead. Our Ethiopian partners are wise to have included this work as a priority for our partnership.


Hides are stored before processing at the tannery in Addis Ababa.

Photos by Rick Harrison, Ohio State University Communications

One Health Summer Institute: Class is in session


Ohio State faculty arrive at Addis Ababa University’s Akaki campus. From left: Eric Sauvageau, MD, Andrew Shaw, MD, from the College of Medicine, Michael Bisesi, PhD, from the College of Public Health and Wondwossen Geybreyes, DVM, from the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Dr. Bisesi lectures at the Akaki campus.

A student walks through Addis Ababa University Akaki campus on July 8, 2013.

A student walks through Addis Ababa University’s Akaki campus.


Addis Ababa University students listen as Dr. Bisesi lectures.


Dr. Gebreyes teaching class.

2wondwossens class

Students listen during Dr. Gebreyes’ lecture on molecular epidemiology.

Photos by Rick Harrison, Ohio State University Communications


By Timothy Landers, RN, PhD
Ohio State College of Nursing

One of the things that has been most impressive in my visit to Gondar is the respect for people and for relationships that is present in every interaction.  Every conversation begins with a greeting, ሰላም, “Selam!”  Followed by some greeting such as “how are you”, “how is your day going”, or “how are you feeling?”  Or more often, all three.

In a typical conversation, each person in the group is acknowledged and receives a handshake.  The president of the university greets the department chair, the student, and the housekeeper.

There is a nonverbal conversation among Ethiopian men – what we’ve come to call the “ah-ha.”  It is a brief gasp taken with force which is usually uttered when another is speaking.  It says, “I am listening, I am interested, I am here.”

When I arrive at my office in the morning, I make it a point to say hello to the co-workers I meet – something I picked up from an airline pilot who told me he ALWAYS greets his flight attendants and co-pilot first thing.

However, it’s not the same kind of recognition and appreciation for the other person that I have seen in our visit to Ethiopia.

In the past two weeks in Ethiopia with each “Selam,” “good morning,”  “how are you feeling?” and “how was your day?,” I’ve learned more about my co-workers than I could have in six months in Columbus.

But, I’d like to change.

When I leave Gondar, I am going to be more aware of how I greet those around me – everyone.  It’s worth the time to let them know that I am interested in how they are doing.  I am hoping to let them know that I value them and am interested in them.

How are you doing today?  How are you feeling?  Did you have a good night?

After that, I will unlock my door and get to work.

And there is lots of work to do.

Ohio State and Ethiopia: Building Collaborations

Here I am reviewing some class materials with students in the “Food Safety and Food Borne Diseases” course, as part of the Summer One Health Institute.

Here I am reviewing some class materials with students in the “Food Safety and Food Borne Diseases” course, as part of the Summer One Health Institute.

by Bayleyegn Molla, DVM, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor and International Programs Coordinator
Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

Our hope is to establish ongoing collaborative relationships–not just during the One Health Summer Institute, but well in to the future.  We hope to be able to build a mutually beneficial partnership between faculty and students at Ohio State and University of Gondar, which will help leverage expertise and open opportunities for all.

For participants from Ethiopia, this experience can bring the world-class knowledge and expertise of Ohio State to address important public health problems, though training and ongoing working relationships.  Partners at the University of Gondar bring a wealth of knowledge about local priorities and infrastructure.

Research and practice priorities are well organized in thematic areas with an emphasis on team-based research.

For faculty from Ohio State, this partnership offers the opportunity to explore and help develop solutions to tropical diseases, wildlife and environmental issues, and to apply new approaches in a different culture and region.  This opportunity helps expand the capabilities for students trained through the University of Gondar and faculty to use this knowledge to address important issues in Ohio, in our country, and throughout the world.

It is very rewarding to see this partnership in action in the One Health Summer Institute.  Students and faculty from nursing, public health, veterinary medicine, basic sciences, and human medicine have been discussing important problems such:

  • Food-borne illnesses
  • MRSA prevention
  • Cervical cancer
  • Zoonotic diseases

More importantly, these workshops explore potential ways to work together in the coming months and years.

The “One Health” framework is an excellent foundation on which to build this partnership, because it relies on contributions from a range of scientific experts and the active engagement of students in workshop sessions.

Being from Ethiopia originally, and now as a faculty member at Ohio State, it is tremendously rewarding to see the engagement of both universities in an effort to improve health.

Making Animal Inquiries in Addis Ababa

I took this picture outside of the Jupiter Hotel in Addis Ababa. This is kind of how I felt trying to navigate  a busy street with an unfamiliar language.

I took this picture of a stray dog outside the Jupiter Hotel in Addis Ababa. This is kind of how I felt trying to navigate a busy street with unfamiliar language and surroundings.

By Tim Landers
Ohio State College of Nursing

One of the first people we met when we arrived in Addis Ababa was Daniel, our driver who took us around some of the sights.

Traffic is very bad, with pedestrians, loaded mules, stray animals and vehicles trying to share the same road.

Most of the dogs we saw were roaming the street, but as we wove through traffic, I asked Daniel if he had a dog.  He was happy to show us photos of “Jack.” We know that dogs are important parts of many peoples’ families, and this was true for Daniel as well.

We asked more about Jack – where did he find him, when did he go to the doctor, and what type of dog he was.  Expecting that he would tell us about Jack’s pedigree, Daniel seemed very puzzled by the this question.  “He’s a small dog, a nice dog.”

Daniel was concerned because Jack had some sort of infestation, and he did not know how to treat it.  Unfortunately, we had two nurses in the car and no veterinarians.  We did stop at a local pharmacy to see what treatments they might have.

While we were able to buy fairly high-end human antibiotics, but they did not carry veterinary medications.

During our tour of Gondar, we encountered this donkey, which in Ethiopia are seen as work animals.

I asked one of the veterinarians with our group about an ulcer on the back of this donkey.  He actually pointed me to a paper he had written about these “pack ulcers” –erosions caused by loading of the animal for transport of goods to the market.  They are generally non-infectious, but they look uncomfortable!


Ohio State Arrives in Gondar–Let One Health Begin!

By Tim Landers
Ohio State College of Nursing

We’ve arrived in Gondar!

Our traveling group from the College of Nursing arrived this morning and were greeted by officials from the University of Gondar and Baye Molla, PhD, clinical assistant professor in Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Molla is a native of Gondar and has been a wonderful guide and adviser as we have planned our trip to Ethiopia for the One Health Summer Institute.

Over the summer, we will be joined by 20 faculty and students from Ohio State, representing the colleges of Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Public Health, Optometry, and Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as faculty from Addis Ababa University and University of Gondar.

In addition, Robert Agunga, director of Ohio State’s Center for African Studies, will join us in presenting a series of short courses using the One Health framework.

The College of Nursing’s faculty contingent will begin the institute by offering a week-long course in research methods to students and faculty from the University of Gondar.