Speech therapy (as SLP is known) in Ethiopia is on the cusp of a significant breakthrough: moving from two qualified speech therapists in a country of 110 million, to 16 trained Ethiopian speech therapists graduating from Addis Ababa University in 2019 for the first time.
In 2017 Addis Ababa University (AAU), Special Needs Department, in the Faculty of Education joined with two other partners to help train the first 2 cohorts of speech therapists. Transforming Faces, which supports comprehensive cleft lip and palate care and the Plastic and Reconstructive surgery unit at Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College AAU asked the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC) to become involved.
Eight faculty from the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals went to Ethiopia in sequence to teach the first cohort of speech therapy students in the country. Students experienced expert instruction in Child Language, Adult Neurogenic Communication Disorders, Aural Rehabilitation, AAC and Dysphagia. The clinical and classroom teaching to students in an emergent profession has been a transformative experience for everyone.
A Masters in Speech Language Therapy is being launched at AAU in September 2023. To listen to the "Caring for Cleft Podcast" which shares some of the history of SLT in Ethiopia please click on the link below.