Global Initiatives: In Africa

USC Global Health

The Wellness, Innovation, Science and Health (WISH) program in Ethiopia is designed to improve secondary school instruction, achieve higher participation in organized athletics, increase job opportunities and promote community health programming.

  • The Issues
  • Ethiopia
    • With 80 million people, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country. Infectious and chronic diseases threaten the country’s economic and social development, and it faces ongoing environmental degradation. The country has taken steps to improve the infrastructure for education, recognizing that school-aged children make up a significant portion of the population, and until recently, they have lacked educational opportunities. Countless schools and 20 new universities have been built throughout the country. However, construction has outpaced the development of supporting infrastructure. Many of the schools lack potable water and there are shortages of textbooks, laboratory equipment, computers and teachers. The country faces the same health problems as many other countries in Africa:
      • An estimated 2.2 million people are living with the HIV virus; the highest prevalence occurs in the 15-24 age group.
      • Indoor air pollution from cooking stoves in poorly ventilated homes has led to high rates of respiratory infection in women and children.
      • Access to clean water and sanitation is below levels in other African countries, resulting in a high incidence of serious gastro-intestinal disease.
      • The population faces rising non-communicable diseases that are linked to insufficient physical activity, diet, and smoking.
  • The Solution
  • Ethiopia
    • For the long run, Ethiopia needs a well-educated and healthy populace. Moving toward these goals, the expansion of educational institutions offers a vehicle for promotion of healthier lifestyles and a healthier environment. But this platform needs more resources for education on health and on the environment, and a physical location for health-promoting physical activity, for providing access to potable water, and for education on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
    • The USC-LAFC WISH program will help the Tigrai Development Agency (TDA), a non-profit, community-based development organization based in the Tigrai region of Ethiopia, advance its objectives: improved secondary school instruction, higher participation in organized athletics, increased job opportunities and the promotion of community health programming.
  • LAFC's Partnership
    • The LAFC Foundation will construct a soccer-centered, wellness facility in Mekelle, the capital of the Tigrai region. This facility will provide a place for exercise, easier access to clean water and healthcare information. A running track open to the public will rim the soccer field. There will be another space for healthcare education materials and activities, and for vendors selling healthy foods. The Foundation will also establish a high school soccer league throughout Tigrai and encourage participation in sports and other physical activities, particularly for adolescent girls. The organization will provide uniforms and equipment for 500 kids and travel to and support for soccer clinics.