Dr. Helen Yifter

In her native Ethiopia, Dr. Helen Yifter (right) is one of only seven endocrinologists, specialized in treating diabetes and other hormonal disorders. Dr. Yifter, a graduate of the Novartis Next Generation Scientist program, treats patients at Black Lion Hospital in the capital of Addis Ababa. She also helped establish the first diabetic foot clinic in sub-Saharan Africa. Diabetes is on the rise in Ethiopia as more people move from rural to urban areas and adjust their diets and lifestyles. While nearly 3 million Ethiopians have diabetes, the overwhelming majority are undiagnosed – and without treatment, they risk developing other serious health complications, such as heart disease, kidney damage, and foot and vision problems. Dr. Yifter regularly trains other healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat diabetes as a way to boost patients’ access to quality care.

Dr. Yifter checks blood pressure (Photo)

Dr. Helen Yifter checks the blood pressure of Amina Shafi, 62, who has type 2 diabetes. Every three months, Ms. Shafi travels by bus to visit Dr. Yifter at Black Lion Hospital.

Dr. Yifter training session for medical students (Photo)

Dr. Yifter leads a weekly training session for medical students. As one of the few endo-crinologists in Ethiopia, she knows it is imperative to train the next generation of doctors.

Ms. Shafti (Photo)

Ms. Shafi has developed eye and kidney complications as a result of her diabetes. During a recent checkup, she received the upsetting news that she must switch from oral medication to insulin injections.