In 2017, a collaboration began between the Department of Ophthalmology at Menelik II Hospital/Addis Ababa University (AAU), and the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto/The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) under the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC) to explore the possibility of initiating a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship program in Ethiopia. The collaboration was awarded a CIHR Meeting, Planning and Dissemination grant to support a needs assessment and curriculum development at Menelik II Hospital/AAU. In February 2018, a team from SickKids traveled to Ethiopia to meet with AAU colleagues and together assess educational and training needs for pediatric ophthalmology (Kletke et al., 2020). A fellowship curriculum and program specification document were developed and have been submitted for institutional approval at AAU.
AAU has a robust ophthalmology residency program and residents have some limited exposure to pediatric cases. With the establishment of a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship program at AAU, the collaboration will provide much needed specialty training in childhood eye disorders for Ethiopia and East Africa.
The collaboration is led by Dr. Sadik Sherief, Chair of Ophthalmology at AAU; Dr. Sadik received his pediatric ophthalmology fellowship training at the University of Toronto. Team leaders from Toronto include Dr. Helen Dimaras, Scientist, and Dr. Asim Ali, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, at The Hospital for Sick Children.
In 2018, the group was awarded a XOVA Excellence in Ophthalmology and Vision Award to further develop, refine and test the online and in-person academic modules to be incorporated into the fellowship delivery. Work towards achieving this first pediatric ophthalmology fellowship program in Ethiopia is ongoing.
Kletke SN, Soboka JG, Dimaras H, Sherief ST, Ali A. Development of a pediatric ophthalmology academic partnership between Canada and Ethiopia: a situational analysis. BMC Med Educ. 2020 Nov 16;20(1):438. PMID: 33198727; PMCID: PMC7670694. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02368-y