October 7, 2022

First Ethiopian medical crowdfunding platform goes operational

City: Addis AbabaHealthLifestyle

The Lommi project took the Ethiopian proverb "50 lemons, a burden for one, a jewel for many", as a motivation.

Avatar: Hiwot Walelign (Ph.D.)
By Hiwot Walelign (Ph.D.)

Hiwot is a senior content editor at Addis Zeybe. Passionate about literature and writing, she is an author and former English news anchor at Addis Media Network.

First Ethiopian medical crowdfunding platform goes operational
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Photo credit: lommi.org

The first medically specialized crowdfunding platform in Ethiopia, lommi.org, goes operational as of October 5, 2022, integrated with Telebirr and PayPal. 

This fundraising website for medical purposes, called Lommi Projects, is owned by Health and Hope for the Generation, a charitable organization, registered in Ethiopia and the United States. 

Health and Hope for the Generation is the umbrella organization that hosts the Lommi Projects and the Lommi Crowdfunding Platform.

Yeraeyfire Sileshi, the co-founder of the project, told Addis Zeybe that Lommi Project aims to avail medical services to patients all over the country. 

In 2016, the physician-to-patient ratio in Ethiopia was 1 to 20,000 according to a medical article published on BMJ OPEN in June 2022 - a research paper by Sedeta ET, et al. This is way below the recommendations of WHO - 2.3 doctors for 1000 patients. 

The limited number of medical professionals along with the unaffordability of most medical treatments force many to suffer from multiple ailments in silence in remote rural areas. 

Lommi will work to help alleviate this, says Yeraeyfire, in the areas of plastic surgery (for children with cleft lip and palate), dermatology, prenatal health care, and other such services with surgical procedures and medical treatments.

The project aspires to reach out to the beneficiaries in three ways: via social media platforms, going in person to rural areas - specifically on market days, and from partner hospitals. 

Credit: lommi.org

Lomi project gives different medical treatments with the motto “Locate, Operate, Transform”.

Yeraeyfire said, “Lommi strives to approach those who are in need of medical help and provide them with the necessary treatments. And we hope to transform the lives of people from despair to hope, from sickness to health.”

The medical services are given to the patients free of charge. This will be possible with 50% of it coming from crowdfunding via lommi.org, 20% from grants of local and international donors, and 30% from corporate partners such as banks, Telecom, breweries and others. 

In Ethiopia, a saying goes "50 lemons, a burden for one, a jewel for many". Taking this as a motivation, the Lommi project aspires to distribute responsibility to different bodies so each can contribute its share for a good cause. 

The fundraising just started yesterday, October 5, and the figures on the website show a small amount of money donated over the past 24 hours. 

However, Yeraeyfire hopes the numbers will spiral with time. He told Addis Zeybe, “Though we got a legal license to operate in Ethiopia last February, we just launched the fundraising site. It is because of integrating the website with the digital payment systems of Telebirr and PayPal took time. We hope to help many through Lommi.”

The website is available in five languages: English, Amharic, Afan Oromo, Spanish and Arabic so as to widen the project’s reach to different potential donors.