When Western meets traditional medicine

Physician Michael Scholten visits Kara clinic in Ethiopia

by Dr. Michael Scholten und Sebastian Zausch,  2019/08/02

About 5.000 kilometres linear distance from Germany the humedica intervention team member Dr. Michael Scholten has helped the Kara tribe people in Ethiopia for the second time already using only the simplest of aids and appliances. Additional support came from Yann Steinmann of the Agentur echtgut in Saarbrücken, Germany. The assistant medical director from the specialist hospital Saarschleife of the Johannesbad AG has worked for two and a half weeks in our clinic in the South Ethiopian Omo valley. His conclusion: „Things are progressing.“ Once more, the physician has exchanged views with the local healer and brought him some stainless steel instruments – in exchange for his former corroded devices.

The people in the Omo valley are grateful for the medical help. Photo: humedica

„Here Western and traditional medicine come together – and learn from one another“, Michael Scholten was happy to report. He trained the local hospital personnel how to use the ultrasound for birth preparation. What does Scholten take back into his own everyday life? „The honest mutual respect of practitioner and patient, but also the simple manual skills of the healer while pulling out teeth or straightening joints – he just works intuitively“, says Scholten.

The recently built mother-child house and the integration of a new midwife into the local team marks a new milestone for the basic medical support on site and will help to improve severely the mortality and complication rate.

The intervention team did not only work in the border region of South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. They also worked in the ambulance vehicle - without electricity and water - and visited “neighboured hospitals”, which sometimes were so far away that it took a drive of up to four hours to reach them. During these visits the medical team addressed the topic of hygiene management and offered practical training to the local nurses and medicine students.

The mobile ambulance team with Dr. Michael Scholten. Photo: humedica

Scholten did not only bring along his professional experience, but also medicaments donated by the Saarschleife clinic. He told us: „To work sustainably, singular interventions are not enough. Also the people, who work on site in this region without any outside assistance, need ongoing human support and appreciation.“ Therefore Michael Scholten acted also as a supervisor for the local humedica coordinator.

In the following video Michael Scholten shares impressions of his visit to the Kara in the South of Ethiopia:

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