Santa Rosa, CA

Mission Eritrea

After much deliberation, on November 22, we announced Eritrea as the first country we partnered with! Our thanks and gratitude for the many submissions provided by our followers that have taken the time to be a part of this journey to change lives! Your support and the wonderful stories you’ve shared with us demonstrate how significant Supply The Change will be in impacting global healthcare. We’d like to give a shout out to those of which that informed us on the specific hospitals welcoming our partnership; and to those that seamlessly connected us with The Ministry of Health! With that being said, we are thrilled to Supply The Change in the East African nation of Eritrea!

Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. After World War II, Eritrea was annexed to Ethiopia starting a 30-year war for independence. In September of 1991 the Eritrean People's Liberation Front defeated the Ethiopian regime and was finally acknowledged as a country in 1993.

Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country with nine recognized tribes and population of around 5 million. The healthcare system in Eritrea consists of both public and private sectors, but the Ministry of Health is responsible for providing healthcare services in Eritrea. Since the country gained independence in 1993, the Government has undertaken initiatives to improve the healthcare system such as; making significant investments to build new facilities, supply clinic with proper equipment, or even obtain better proper supplies. Efforts were put into developing human resources for the healthcare sector to narrow the gap in shortage of medical staffs. The total expenditure on health care in Eritrea is currently around 4.5% of the country’s GDP.

Although the Government has tried to improve the healthcare system in Eritrea, the overall standard is generally poor. About 90% of the country’s population is entitled to access free medical treatment at public hospitals and clinics, however, the doctor to patient ratio in Eritrea is low, about 1:10,000 people, and most healthcare providers are mainly located in urban areas. Eighty percent of the country’s population live in a rural part of Eritrea; this leaves many others to travel just to seek medical assistance. This lack of access to medical care may result in delayed treatments or lead to unforeseen deaths. Private doctors and clinics are also available in the country and there is even a private hospital in the capital city. However, the private healthcare sector is relatively small and can be expensive, limiting those who live below the poverty line.

The medical centers in Eritrea provide preliminary medical aid and minor surgical assistance, as well as carrying out diagnostic functions. In the case of an emergency, patients are required to make an appointment to be admitted into a hospital. The services that patients can find in the hospitals include gynecology, pediatrics and eye care.

In general, the infrastructure of the healthcare system in Eritrea is far from meeting the standard of western countries. The modern medical facilities are not always available and they are mostly limited to the urban areas in the country. Chemists and drugstores are available in major towns; however, qualifications of chemists are often unknown. Basic non-prescription medicines can be found in major cities, though the selection is not large, and the supply of medicines is often irregular. Given that the healthcare system in Eritrea is weak and there is a lack of equipment and insufficient maintenance, Supply The Change has decided to partner with Eritrea with the hopes to make a significant difference in the future of health care.