Field Update: Chiro Leba Health Centre, Simien Mountains

7 October 2021

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"If you want to think about something that would move you, take the walk that I took last night... through a graveyard of stillborn babies."

Watch an eye-opening field report from project partner Brian Lovatt (Co-Founder of Simien Mountains Mobile Medical Service) about the conditions of the remote Chiro Leba health centre in the heart of the Simien Mountains.

Video transcript

Good morning. Here we are in Chiro Leba in the northern woreda or district of Janamora. We’re at an elevation of about 3,000 metres, so close to 10,000 feet. And, as you can see, it’s spectacular terrains, hugely impressive geography but it’s also a great challenge for the local communities.

Bad weather; we had two days of rain here – and pretty much non-stop, like monsoon conditions. This is life for people in northern Janamora.

We’re at the health centre. As you can see, the patients are already lined up in the background to my left. To my right, you can see the assessment team is having a chat with women from the local villages, to talk about women-specific issues.

We’ve just completed two days of assessments here with the team from Simien Mountains Mobile Medical Service, the mobile outreach doctors, and the Debark district hospital.

And I can tell you after these two days, the situation is very, very, very basic. Some real critical issues are the lack of diagnostic equipment for disease or any type of HIV, TB, or any sort of illness that you’d normally expect to have a quick diagnosis and then treatment. These things do not exist.

We have a pharmacy here but there’s no laboratory technician. We have a well-staffed maternity department but they lack basic things like beds, the suction vacuums, ample bags – basic equipment that any health centre should have to provide delivery service and treat neonatals.

Neonatal deaths last night. We went down to walk through a graveyard of stillborn babies. If you want to think about something that would move you, take the walk that I took last night – and this is something we’re trying to improve.

Anything you can do to help… Help us with your donations, help us with your service. If you have skills and want to be involved, then this is a good place to start.


Map of the Simien Mountains

Located in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia and home to 250,000 people.

Map of the Simien Mountains

The dark green area is the Simien Mountains national park. The yellow undotted lines are the only three roads that traverse the area. As you can imagine, transport is difficult in the mountains so people must often walk or use donkeys to navigate the terrain.


If you would like to help

By donating today, you can help provide basic medical equipment for health clinics in the Simien Mountains. Any amount you can give will be gratefully received by Brian and the team at Simien Mountains Mobile Medical Service. 


Stay tuned for more updates from our partners in the Simien Mountains. Thank you for your care.