The Manual of Ethiopian Medical History

Photo: Dr. Melaku Beyan. Dr. Melaku Beyan became the first Ethiopian medical doctor to complete his education in the United states in 1935 (Dr. Workneh Eshete became the first Ethiopian doctor to obtain a modern medical education in 1882)

The non-governmental organization, People to People, has just released The Manual of Ethiopian Medical History by Enawgaw Mehari, Kinfe Gebeyehu and Zergabachew Asfaw. The purpose of the publication is to teach the future generation of Ethiopian medical students and health care professionals about Ethiopia’s medical history.

Mekele University and Bahir Dar University have reportedly agreed to incorporate the study into their medical education curriculum.


Compiled by:
Enawgaw Mehari, MD
Kinfe Gebeyehu, MD
Zergabachew Asfaw, MD
Senior Graphic Editor: Matthew I. Watts

People to People extends its gratitude to the authors and their families, who gave precious time to research, review and write on the various topics in this manual so that students of medical history will be stimulated to continue the learning process. This manual is not intended to serve as a comprehensive textbook on the medical history of Ethiopia, but as a starting point, serving as a window for appreciation and learning from the past so that we can build and connect to the future.

Though there are not many, we are fortunate to have a few books that have documented the medical history of Ethiopia, one of them being An introduction to the Medical History of Ethiopia, by Richard Pankhurst, with a postscript by Asrat Woldeyes, which is a gem that students of medical history of Ethiopia should consider reading and learning from. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to
Professor Pankhurst – not only for his advice but also for his participation in developing this manual.
We – health professionals and the Ethiopian public in general – are indebted to so many of the pioneers who have left visible traces of their remarkable work to serve humanity. History will never forget the two Ethiopian patriots, Dr. Workneh Eshete (Hakim Workneh) and Dr. Melaku Beyan, who not only served their people during trying times but bravely stood with defenders of their country’s freedom against aggressors.

People to People would also like to take the opportunity to thank the hundreds of expatriates who provided much needed medical care in the past when there were no Ethiopian health professionals. In the present era, we extend our gratitude to the numerous expatriate colleagues in various universities and medical establishments who travel with us, advise us and share their resources for the good cause
of serving and sharing knowledge and technology.

Our thanks also should go to those who recognized, as we did, that the benefit of a curriculum in the medical history of Ethiopia to future health providers is immense. We thank you for helping us move the implementation process forward. Dr. Yodit Abraham, among many others, was a true believer that we could accomplish our goal. Finally, our sincere thanks should be extended to Brenda Greene for editing the manuscripts.

— Enawgaw Mehari, MD
People to People

Click the link below to read the entire paper in PDF format
The Manual of Ethiopian Medical History