Addis Ababa Collaboration – Updates from the TAAAC

Speech therapy in Ethiopia is on the cusp of a significant breakthrough: moving from two qualified speech therapists in a country of 105 million, to 16 trained Ethiopian speech therapists graduating from Addis Ababa University in 2019 for the first time. In 2017 Addis Ababa University (special needs department) and Transforming Faces (who supports comprehensive cleft lip and palate care at Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College and Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College Plastic and Reconstructive surgery unit) asked the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (along with the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation and the Department of Speech Language Pathology at University of Toronto), to partner with them in supporting their speech language therapy undergraduate program. Eight faculty from the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals went to Ethiopia to teach the first cohort of speech therapy students in the country. SLPs experienced expert instruction in Child Language, Adult Neurogenic Communication Disorders, Aural Rehabilitation, AAC and Dysphagia, as well as clinical and classroom teaching in this emergent profession. It has been a transformative experience for everyone.