Dr. Mekonen Eshete Abebe MD, FCS (ECSA) is the Leader of the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at  Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa. He is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and a teacher at Addis Ababa University School of Medicine. 

This week, he is attending  the  2014 Training Program on Surveillance and Prevention of Birth Defects and Preterm Births at WHO headquarters in Geneva. Organized by the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Birth defects and preterm birth are leading causes of childhood death, chronic illness, and disability in
many countries, including developing countries. 

Dr. Mekonen is currently spearheading a genetic study of non-syndrome clefts in people of African descent.  He is hoping to gain some information about the causes of cleft lip and palate in order to reassure new and expecting parents. He also hopes to implement a birth registry in future. The study should be completed by 2015.

TF is funding some of his training and attendance costs.