As a child growing up in a small village in southern Ethiopia, Yayu Mekonnen knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to helping people. This desire drew him to medical studies followed by surgical education at Jimma University. As a young doctor in the pediatric department of Ethiopia’s biggest hospital, Yayu encountered a young girl who was dying from heart disease because the care she needed wasn’t available. Her death deeply affected Dr. Yayu, who decided to pursue a future in pediatric cardiac care. He trained with Save a Child’s Heart at the Wolfson Medical Center and became Ethiopia’s first pediatric cardiac surgeon, serving a population of over 90 million people.
Dr. Yayu is a passionate, talented and dedicated surgeon. In addition to his time in Israel, he completed an 18-month training in Australia before returning to Ethiopia in May 2019 to start treating Ethiopian children with heart disease, independently.