Current Issue 52
A Helping Hand
MyungSung Christian Medical Center is striving for enrichment over profits as it looks to make a positive long-term impact on Ethiopia’s healthcare infrastructure
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Callam Waller
In spite of its legal status as a private hospital and its investor headquarter positioning in South Korea, Myungsung Christian Medical Center (MCM) has never returned a single dollar back to Korea, and has instead reinvested 100 percent of its profits into the medical fabric of Ethiopia.
Striving to enhance the overall quality of standards within the East African nation’s healthcare system, the Centre’s modern day successes represent a long journey of evolution since the idea was manifested in 1993 by the country’s Prime Minister, who requested a medical facility to be established. Sam Hwan Kim, the senior pastor of Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, South, Korea, graciously and generously agreed to fund the construction of the medical center.
Myungsung International Development came to fruition three years later, and in 2004, the grand opening of the MCM was conducted.
The inauguration of the Myungsung Medical College (MMC) in 2012 compounded the Centre’s impact, while 2015 saw the unveiling of the extended Grace Wing to accommodate the increased patient intake and an ever-broadening scope of healthcare facilities.
“Our health promotion center provides comprehensive medical check-ups for companies; insurance for anyone in need of personal medical check-ups; scheduled routine medical check-ups for companies; cardiac follow-ups for patients; echo, ECG, treadmill, spirometer and other diagnostic tests; and information regarding what patients should do to stay healthy,” explains Medical Director Dr. Chul Soo Kim. “Common clinical procedures then include the initial assessment and management of trauma and emergency cases; intubation; chest tube insertions and applications; orthopaedic cast applications; suturing of minor wounds; GI procedures; catheter application; and wound care for burn victims.”
All told, the Centre boasts a total of 165 beds, catering to ICU, NICU, emergency, delivery and dialysis services; which are frequented by an average of 400 new and repeat patients each day.
“Overall, for the past 12 years, everything has been going successfully,” Dr. Kim encompasses. “In particular, from 2015-2017, our hospital was selected as the first (green status) by the Government of Ethiopia under consideration that has given witness for our pertained development in various standards and parameters.”
Such parameters comprise a continuously changing set of standards and processes that all healthcare institutions have to adhere to, and MCM is assisted in foreseeing these via several partnerships with international organisations; to not only keep ahead of the industry curve, but to ensure long-term improvement of healthcare for the Ethiopian population.
The best medical treatment
“Relations between the countries of Ethiopia and Korea grew close during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. During this time of intense conflict in Korean history, Ethiopia sent troops under the UN coalition forces to assist Korea. This military support was of utmost importance to Korea. Thereafter, Korea desired to assist and support Ethiopia in its efforts to become a developed country.
“Accordingly, MCM General Hospital, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was founded in 2004 by Myungsung Presbyterian Church of South Korea with the goal of providing quality healthcare to Ethiopians and others.”
Dr. Kim’s poignant reflection embraces the overriding ethos, agenda and culture that exists within a Centre which, in modern times, consists of both Ethiopian and expat medical professionals who are committed to caring for the medical needs of local patients.
The Medical Director adds: “Being the first state-of-the-art hospital in Addis Ababa, our hospital offers high quality healthcare services to all. Over the past 12 years, it has evolved through the establishment of the Myungsung Christian Well in 2007 with the aim of improving the living environments of those communities that do not have access to fresh and clean water; and in 2012, Myungsung Medical College (MMC) was established to educate healthcare providers in God’s love and empower them to develop the future capacity building of the health sector of Ethiopia as faithful servant leaders.
“The three organisations, under the registration of Myungsung International Development, P.L.C., directly or indirectly, have been working to enhance the health sector of Ethiopia.”
Subsequently becoming one of the first hospitals in the country to provide special angiography, psychiatry and ophthalmology services, the institutions continuous strive for improvement is all the more impressive considering the challenges it faces in a country that faces a general lack of medicinal resources.
“With diligent training and cooperation, we believe our hospital’s vision and mission of becoming the best hospital in Ethiopia and showing the love of Jesus Christ through providing the best medical treatment to the Ethiopian people will become a reality in the very near future,” affirms Dr Kim.
A key initiative in helping to achieve this goal is through the ongoing upliftment and training of the Hospital’s employees; not just from a medical standpoint but primarily from a customer service perspective, with sensitivity surrounding healthcare ‘customers’ of utmost importance.
Consequently, education, training, learning and development are taken very seriously, with every member of staff afforded the opportunities that they require.
Dr. Kim details: “All staff members are encouraged to undertake personal development and to maintain a portfolio to demonstrate this, which can be useful evidence when seeking promotions.
“Generally, our Hospital strongly believes in human development and has affiliations with external and local academic institutions in Korea and Ethiopia. Many nurses and physicians are sent, mainly to Korea, for long-term further education and short-term training.”
Training is made all the more significant considering the ongoing upgrades and improvements that are made to the Hospital; nearly US$3 million having been spent on facility renovations and new equipment alone.
More holistically though, such emphasis on individual enrichment harks back to the Centre’s ambitions for social development, rather than business profits, as is also demonstrated through its very localised supply chain management strategy, and indeed its wider corporate social responsibility efforts.
“In addition to our core healthcare operations in the hospital, we have been providing the most valuable services to the bodies and souls of Ethiopian people via our mobile evangelistic and healthcare outreaches of the Mobile Clinic Team to distant and remote villages where there are no suitable healthcare services,” Dr. Kim explains. “Over the past year (2016) the Mobile Clinic team provided medical services to more than 3,180 patients where the local public health centre could not provide to the residents of the village.
“This is not only important for the patients but also in sharing the burden of the health centres, and also for the students of MMC in participating in the Mobile Clinic with experienced medical professionals.”
MCM’s expanding reach and influence is indicative of the philosophies instilled in the Centre since its inception, and even of the Prime Minister’s goal almost 25 years ago. And as the levels of healthcare and service improve simultaneously, so too will the institution’s reputation as a social developer in the country.
“Overall, for the past 12 years, everything has been going successfully and we have seen our Hospital become one of the first hospitals in Ethiopia to provide well-rounded healthcare for Ethiopians,” Dr Kim concludes.
“Always, we remain proud of the life-changing care that our patients receive through these state-of-the-art healthcare technologies and services.”