International partnership to transform diabetes care in Ethiopia

Diabetes Africa and St Paul's Hospital in Addis Ababa join forces to embed specialist nurses in diabetes care

Launch ceremony for the Diabetes Africa- St Paul's Hospital Initiative on Diabetes Specialist Nurses
Photo by Genaye Eshetu

Addis Ababa, 31 May 2024 – Diabetes Africa, an international non-profit organisation, and St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Ethiopia’s largest teaching hospital, have entered into a landmark three-year partnership to enhance diabetes care with specialist nurses.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed today in Addis Ababa, signifies a significant step forward in addressing the growing diabetes burden in Ethiopia. This collaboration will leverage the expertise of St. Paul’s Hospital and build on the extensive knowledge of healthcare professionals, professional associations, and the Federal Ministry of Health, who have been improving diabetes care and nurse training across the nation.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve diabetes care by upskilling nurses and empowering them to take a central role in diabetes management,” said Dr. Sisay S. Betizazu, Provost of St. Paul’s Hospital. “Creating an environment where nurses can focus exclusively on diabetes care will lead to better patient outcomes.”

Greg Tracz, Director of Diabetes Africa, emphasized the critical role of specialist nurses in diabetes care. “In many countries, diabetes specialist nurses are essential to effective diabetes management.” We need not look far to find excellence – Ethiopia itself has outstanding examples of highly trained nurses who have significantly improved diabetes care. Our aim is to build on these successes and create a sustainable model that can be replicated and adopted more widely.”

Key aspects of the initiative:

  • Overcoming barriers: The initiative starts with a comprehensive assessment to identify challenges and opportunities in upskilling nursing professionals in diabetes care. This will pinpoint areas for improvement and tailor interventions to meet specific needs.
  • Empowering nurses: The project will ensure that nurses can benefit from an adequate training curriculum providing advanced clinical and leadership skills, to ensure they are prepared to take on critical roles in diabetes care.
  • Setting a standard: Nurses will undergo a rigorous training program, culminating in certification and/or accreditation, ensuring they are well-equipped to lead diabetes care initiatives.
  • Community Impact: Joint awareness campaigns will be launched to educate the community and healthcare professionals on the role of nurses, fostering a more informed and supportive environment.

About St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College:

St. Paul’s Hospital serves a population of up to 5 million and treats an average of 600,000 patients annually. As the only tertiary teaching health institution directly under the Federal Minister of Health, it plays a pivotal role in disseminating healthcare improvements across Ethiopia.

A 2017 analysis revealed significant gaps in diabetes care provision in Ethiopia, with only 59% of health facilities capable of treating non-communicable diseases offering diabetes services. This partnership aims to address these challenges through a comprehensive approach that includes baseline assessments, collaborative service delivery updates, and the implementation of a nurse mentorship program.

About Diabetes Africa:

Diabetes Africa is a non-governmental, non-profit organization headquartered in the UK. It is dedicated to eradicating diabetes and related diseases among people of Black, African, and African Caribbean heritage globally. The organization works actively in Africa and in countries with significant African and Caribbean populations.


This initiative is supported by Biocon Biologics, a leading biopharmaceutical company committed to improving healthcare outcomes worldwide.

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