About the Ethiopian Diabetes Association

I. Diabetes in Ethiopia

Diabetes is becoming one of the rapidly increasing non-communicable diseases and an important public health problem all over the world. According to International Diabetes Federation's (IDF) Diabetes Atlas, an estimated number of 246 million people, or 5.9% of the world's population, in the age group 20-79 have diabetes worldwide in 2007. Of these more than 70% live in the developing countries. As the Diabetes Atlas elucidates the worldwide estimate is expected to increase to some 380 million, or 7.1% of the adult population by 2025 and the largest increases will take place in regions found in developing countries.

Current Board Members of EDA

Dr. Ahmed Reja (President)

Ato Zerihun Temtime (V/ President)

Ato Andualem Demsachew

Dr. Yeshitila Hailu

Ato Assefa Teklu

Col. Alemseged Abay

Ato Zewdu Belay

Ato Tesfaye Mengesha

Dr. Yewondesen Tadesse

Audit Committee

W/o Itaferahu Weldemichael

Ato Minale Getachew

Major kidane Ayele


Ethiopia, which is one of the developing nations, is at a risk of increased diabetes incidence. In Ethiopia, the number of deaths attributed to diabetes reached over 21,000 in 2007 (Diabetes Atlas, 3rd edition).

Community based studies are non-existent at the national level and hospitals may give figures of those who come for treatment and follow up.  As a result, the national estimate is based on neighboring countries with similar socio-economic situations and accordingly, 2%-3% of the population is estimated to live with diabetes in Ethiopia.

Generally, diabetes care is provided at general outpatient clinics or hospitals. The increase in the number of patients has led to the opening of specialized diabetes clinics at Black Lion Specialized and Yekatit 12 hospitals.  Several hospitals in the regions have also started diabetes care as a general outpatient service. The Gondar College of Medical Sciences has an outreach program to rural areas to provide diabetes care and its experiences in this regard can be taken as a national model. The Ethiopian Diabetes Association has also tried to share its part in diabetes prevention, care and treatment.  

II. the genesis of the Ethiopian Diabetes Association

The Ethiopian Diabetes Association was established on January 23, 1984 G.C (1976E.C) for the purpose of providing a forum to diabetes patients so that they can discuss ways of prevention, the provision of information and treatment for all affected by diabetes. The initiative came from Ethiopian Medical Association, health care professionals and people who live with diabetes at the time. It is the first patient based association in the country.  

Ethiopian Diabetes Association is registered as a non-governmental organization under the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice. Currently, the membership at the association has reached over 8,000 with branches in 27 locations including major cities of the country. Children with diabetes are also members of the association and membership reached around 200. The association wishes to support children in terms of education and treatment. However, its limited capacity doesn’t allow it to engage in activities that will be of help to children and young people with diabetes. In order to support children with diabetes and adults it is in the process of a fundraising activity to construct a seven storey building on 1,838 m2 land at its current head office compound in order to support various activities that are going to be related with education, care and treatment.

Children and Youth with Diabetes

More than 200 children and youth are members of EDA. Almost all are students and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Despite this, they are cheerful and hopeful. Please take your time to show them affection and support. Please click here to learn more about these children.

III. Activities

A. Treatment and Medical Supply

The association supports the activities of the Diabetic center found in the premises of Black Lion Specialized Hospital. This special center for diabetic patients gives a screening service for diabetic retinopathy. However, it has no capacity to perform laser treatment and it is only confined to screening.

The other activity of the association is the provision of medicine to its very poor members based on donations secured. Medicines such as insulin or tablets e.g (Glibenclamide, Metformin) are given for free for those who are found in the lower income group of the society. The association always secures a certain amount of medicine to its members who cannot afford to buy medicines and who live in the regions. The head office notifies chairpersons in the regions to collect their portion of the medicines and medical supplies such as blood glucose monitoring meters if donated by philanthropists. So far, with the support of the government, the association gets medicines as a donation from private drug importers. The free provision of medicine is a much sought service from members, but satisfying the needs of all members is beyond the capacity of the association. This is so because once a diabetic patient starts taking medicines; it has to be continued for life. Hence, securing medicines is one of the key endeavors of the association.

B. Education

Creating awareness through education is the major activity of the association. Though, diabetes is a life long disease it could be managed with the right kind of information and the necessary life style changes. To this end, the association prepares an educational gathering every month. This program lasted for the last 23 years and attendance improved from time to time. Instructors from Addis Ababa University Medical Faculty play a vital role in the provision of education on various topics. The student auditorium of Addis Ababa University Medical Faculty hosts more than 300 attendees each month.

The other method of information dissemination is publishing of magazine. EDA publishes a magazine every year. Now, it is preparing to publish this magazine every four months.

C. Blood Glucose Test

The activity that brings many members to the head office is blood glucose test since few patients afford to make self blood test regularly. EDA started free blood glucose test on December 7, 2002 and continued the service until March 2005. Starting August 2005, due to constraints of medical supplies especially strips, the association started to give the service with a minimal fee of four Birr per test. Still, the price is very low compared to the service offered in other health institutions. A private laboratory supports the association by giving free coupons so that members can have a blood glucose test for free. The association is very grateful to such kinds of outreaching activities.   

D. Events

The United Nations has passed a resolution on diabetes following the initiatives taken by International Diabetes Federation. November 14 is celebrated each year as the United Nations Diabetes Day. Ethiopian Diabetes Association used to celebrate this day colorfully with its sponsors and supporters under the theme developed each year by the World Diabetes Day team. Many sponsors and pharmaceutical companies use this opportunity to introduce their products and express allegiance with the association. EDA used to prepare sports activities, seminars, panel discussions and public rallies for the celebration of the day. It is preparing to celebrate the coming World Diabetes Day more colorfully compared to previous times.

OUR objectives

The Ethiopian Diabetes Association exists to empower diabetic patients, their families and the wider public through up to date information on diabetes prevention care and the right kind of treatment. It strives to see positive change in the lives of all people affected by the condition. Towards this end it welcomes support of all kinds. Though diabetes is a chronic disease and its treatment is costly to the average Ethiopian, it can be controlled with the concerted effort of all that work to make change in the health sector. 



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Ethiopian Diabetes Association



contact us

Telephone:251- 011 662 58 08 or 251-011 6182160
Fax: 251-011 6182158
E-mail- ethdiab@ethionet.et
P.O.Box 3184 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia