News: Ethiopian Medical Student Earns International Award for Project to Improve Community Health

Yidnekachew’s project is titled Sexual Health Education for Better Awareness (SHEBA)

Addis Abeba, July 04/2019 – Yidnekachew Girma Mogessie, a medical student at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, is one of 12 students from around the world named recipients of the 2019 Student Projects for Health awards presented by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).

As a recipient of the award, Yidnekachew will have the opportunity to present his winning project during the 2019 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health, which will be held September 10-13 in Darwin, Australia.


Yidnekachew’s project is titled Sexual Health Education for Better Awareness (SHEBA). Among Ethiopian women aged 15-19, five million are already mothers and two million experience unwanted pregnancy, with the rate of HIV/AIDS increasing by two percent in cities in 2018. SHEBA, through problem tree analysis, determined that inadequate information about family planning services is the root cause of pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and other reproductive health challenges. SHEBA uses volunteer medical students from Ethiopia and Denmark to deliver youth-friendly, comprehensive sexual education. The project has trained 54 medical students as peer educators and has trained 240 rural high school students to become SHEBA trainers and sensitize their communities regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights. Because of SHEBA, 98 students received family planning services, including safe abortions, at no cost.

“Promoting quality medical education and health care worldwide are core to the ECFMG/FAIMER mission,” said William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “The quality of this year’s projects and the engagement of these students in improving the health of their communities are truly inspiring. The recipients have demonstrated the innovation and diversity of efforts needed to meet global health care needs.”

Now in its fifth year, the Student Projects for Health competition recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions to projects that successfully promote community health and well-being. It is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any course of study who have been participating in such projects. The competition is supported by FAIMER and ECFMG through its GEMx program, which promotes global educational exchange in medicine and the health professions. Since the competition was launched in 2015, ECFMG/FAIMER has presented Student Projects for Health awards to 75 students from 22 countries.

From the 72 submissions received from around the globe, ECFMG/FAIMER selected 12 students from nine countries to receive this year’s awards. Submissions were reviewed by an international panel of 18 reviewers. They were judged on the quality of the project, degree and nature of the applicant’s participation, the applicant’s contribution to project innovation, the impact of the project, and diffusion and integration of the project.

ECFMG and FAIMER are private, non-profit organizations based in Philadelphia in the United States.

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