For a busy woman who has built a world class dental institution, a high end gym, a residential unit and a top tier spa, inside a landmark building of her own around Shola; she is accessible, excited and has stood ready to discuss the dire need of dental treatments interacting with those who had come to her clinic in hopes of resolving and restoring their dental and oral health on a Sunday morning.
For Emebet Gezahegn (DD), awake in the early morning to help a long line of people, she knows how privileged she has become and the importance of being a good corporate leader and sharing it with others.
“We have been helping many people who would not otherwise afford basic dental care and many other community initiatives I should not advertise, but rather with what we do. I am honored and humbled to have been given the chance to help my fellow humans and pass the values of corporate citizenry and responsibility that is important to me and my family on to my children and the next generation,” she told The Reporter.
For the Cuban educated dentist, who started her business in a humble space in shola, has since built a state of the art building. She wants to expand her business, open a chain of dentistry and continue to be an ever engaged citizen. In addition, she has her daughter run a famous beauty salon and spa, and her Son, a specialist doctor runs the clinic, a family run guest house on the building, and a full size gym.
“I was educated in Cuba, under Fidel Castro's administration and we had a rich standard of service where no medical errors are allowed and where you give your optimum service to the best of your abilities. And give services where you do not angel for shortcuts, but for a professional ultimate outcome. That is what I have tried to bring to Ethiopia three decades ago,” she said, as she was signing a medical bill of an elderly woman and readied herself to fly to Dubai to join her son, who had since followed in her footsteps and has become a dentist and a partner to the clinic.
Emebet wants her clinic to grow even more and knows it is needed in the nation.
For instance, last month, she initiated a plan to rent the Millennium Hall for the first International Health Exhibition and offer free medical services, with her medical colleagues in the capital. She was overwhelmed with how much people took advantage of the community based initiatives. She was not hesitant to help serve every person who had come, no matter the cost and inconvenience.
To make it work, she spent 500,000 birr of her own money as the clinic covered all expenses given during the initiative.
“In life, there are many things that fulfill you and make you happy. For some, it might just be money and that is perfectly fine. But for me, it’s the service of helping and virtue of reaching out. What I learned in the medical field and what my children, whether they are in a medical field or not, is what I want them to aspire to,” she said, as staff warned her, the flight she is due to be on board was set to leave in less than two hours.
Giving some advice to the government on how they can complement her efforts, she wants them to pay attention to the importance of a dental medical pharmacy that is almost non-existent and consider the equipment that still needs to be bought in from abroad, since the qualities and quantities offered at home are still not up to standard.
By lunch time, as she left for Bole International Airport, the clinic had seen about 60 patients, refereed to the establishment from the exhibition held earlier this month.
Teshome Alemayehu was one of those people who were offered further treatments, one of the many who had come to benefit from Emebet’s services.
“For me, going to a dentist is still a dream. I had not seen a dentist all my life and I knew my teeth were literally falling out of my mouth. When I learned of the potential service, I lined up early so I would be seen. I did not think I was going to be given an extensive medical care and here I am. Being taken care-off, and being a recipient of a beautiful generosity and I am forever grateful,” he told The Reporter.
The clinic – named Dr. Emebet Special Higher Dental Clinic – offers a wide range of services. Among them are 3D radiography services, dental restoration, scaling, root canal or endodontic treatment, extraction and oral surgeries, fractal jaws, implantology, prosthodontics, orthodontics (braces) panoramic x-ray, and 3D x-rays.
For Almaz Tewelde, she knew her medical bill would be large. She had lost the full front of her teeth as a young person and had been forced to make the most with what she had. But at the clinic, she is to be given artificial teeth at a cost of more than 20,000 Birr and she was elated. She was told about this free service from a neighbor over coffee.
“I am a woman of modest means. I could never afford to pay such an amount of money for a dentist”, she reflected adding: “And I would not dream of anyone to offer me such a good service for free. But I am happy and I can smile once again, without people looking at me strangely, thinking if I was either an alcoholic or diabetic”.
For Emebet, this is what it’s all is about.
“I feel Ethiopia is where my service is needed the most and I am glad I am here at home doing that. I will forever be happy, if I am remembered as a business woman with a heart and that’s how I want my legacy to be shaped,” she concluded.