Ethiopia is the most populous non-coastal country in the world. 1.5% of the world's population lives in here, and it is growing rapidly. This is the only African country that has never been colonization. Home to more than 80 ethnic groups, it retains use of the Ge'ez calendar and one of the oldest alphabets in the world. Unfortunately, this proud and unique nation is also one of the most underserved medically. There are less than 2,200 doctors within its borders, despite the pervasiveness of serious infectious disease, a high child mortality rate, and an increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases, including neurological conditions.
There are only 25 neurologists in Ethiopia, or one for every 4-5 million people, though the World Health Organization recommends one for every 100,000 people. Conditions have improved, however, thanks to the work of the neurology residency program at Addis Ababa University. This program, which began in 2006 when the country had only one neurologist for every 12 million people, stands out as the only one of its kind in the Horn of Africa.
The program has graduated 23 professionals to date, more than quadrupling the total number of neurologists nationwide. The number of individuals treated in public clinics has increased ten-fold, and some of the graduates have started neurology programs at distant universities in rural Ethiopia. The program trains residents from other African countries. The Addis Ababa University Neurology Department accepts a number of neurology residents from Europe and the United States for training in tropical neurology.