“Black Lion for the Country” in Its 50 Years of Journey in the Health Sector

Addis Ababa University (AAU), Black Lion Specialized Hospital commemorated its 50 years journey and contribution for Ethiopia in the health sector with a theme of “Black Lion for the Country” on a ceremony held in its compound on the 9th of March 2023.

The Black Lion Specialized Hospital was established in 1961 by Emperor Haile Selassie I as “Prince Mekonnen Memorial Hospital” and got its current name in 1976. The hospital was built with funds from the entire Ethiopian people and has been providing services for all community. It is now reached treating over 500 thousand outpatients and more than 21 thousand inpatients annually.

The School of Medicine at Black Lion Specialized Hospital was established in 1972 under AAU and is one of the earliest medical schools in the country. The school has been providing quality medical education to students from Ethiopia and other African countries for more than five decades.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) of AAU currently has 23 departments in four academic schools and one teaching hospital, and offers 8 undergraduate and 72 graduate programs. It is considered as a quality benchmark for similar programs running in other higher educational institutions in the country. It is known for publishing the largest number of scientific articles in AAU.

Berhanu Nega (Prof.), Minster of Education, said on the occasion that the Hospital is currently teaching more than 5,000 students and is the topmost in its research outputs among the colleges of AAU. However, it is struggling to provide quality services with its insufficient budget and low management capacity compared to the huge number of patients and other mandates.

According to Prof. Berhanu, the general problem of education quality in the country is also affecting the CHS and the existing medical delivery model is an issue that needs to be looked at carefully. The government has taken the situation into consideration and has been in discussion with officials and management of the hospital to improve the situation, he added.

Black Lion Specialized Hospital with its CHS is being given special attention in the recent autonomy structure of AAU, and regulations are being formulated to safeguard its freedom as well as to allocate its own budget. There is also a plan by the government to build hospitals that can be competitive at the international level and provide qualified health services,” he detailed.

Professor Tassew Woldehanna, President of AAU, said that AAU is one of the leading universities in Africa and publishes more than 2,800 research articles per year, with a great contribution of CHS.

According to the missions of community services of AAU, Black Lion Hospital  takes the leading role in providing free  and affordable medical services for about half a million patients every year,” he said

The President added that Black Lion Hospital is a renowned referral hospital with its qualified specialists and most of the referral hospitals, governmental and private health sectors are highly interconnected with it. As such AAU spends more than 40 percent of its budget for CHS and the expansion plans are highly intensified, he added.

Andualem Deneke (PhD), Dean for College of Health Sciences at AAU, said that The Black Lion Specialized Hospital is a symbol of national unity and international friendship. “Almost all of the health professionals in Ethiopia have strong relationship with this college directly or indirectly. The best doctors, nurses, teachers and researchers in the health sector have worked, studied and do researches in this hospital,” he highlighted.

He added that the college is currently working closely with various national and international partners with the principle of “Ok for a Good Deed” which helps it in getting a great relationship and support from the Ministry of Health.


Reporter: Tsion Aysheshim

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay