Soddo Special Delivery    From Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes

Blog writing has become tedious for us but we we do post monthly newsletters.  These newsletters are mailed out to our subscribers.  Our newsletters can be found in the column on the right. The entire archive of our newsletters is available by clicking on the date or title.  You can also subscribe to our newsletters at the button in the right column. 

This was taken in the summer of 2017 on the Lake Michigan beach.


Who we are:  We are two pretty average people who have a passion for helping the poorest of the poor achieve a better quality of life and hear and learn about the goodness of our God.   We serve at Soddo Christian Hospital in the Southern Nation state of Ethiopia.  Mark is originally from Western Kentucky and Allison grew up in Flint, MI.  Today ‘home’ is Muskegon, MI where Mark practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 25 years before hearing the call to return to Africa. Allison chose to work in the home where together they raised five great kids. When the children left for college, Allison pursued a teaching degree in history/English  at Grand Valley State University.  Today we are the grandparents of thirteen grandchildren  spread out across the world. Our oldest son, Joshua and his wife Simone live in Almaty, Kazakstan where Josh serves with USAID.  They have four children.  Our daughter Anna-Maria and her husband Pankaj work in Pittsburgh. Anna is pursuing her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh and Pankaj works with Uber developing the driverless car.   Miriam and her husband Chris live in Johannesburg, S. Africa. They are owners of Just Physical Gym and have five children.  David and his wife Betsy work in Waco, TX.  David is a Hispanic pastor with Antioch Community Church and has a full time landscaping business. Betsy works alongside David in the church but also has a full time successful business called Jamberry. They have three children.  Finally, our daughter Sara and her husband Nate are involved in full-time ministries in Muskegon, MI.   Nate manages a prisoner re-entry program called “Seventy Times Seven” and Sara works with the Hope Project, a nonprofit developed to end sex trafficking in West Michigan. They have one daughter.      

Our Ministries

 Mark: Mark is an obstetrician/gynecologist serving the greater area of Soddo with a population of approximately one million.  He is the only OB/GYN practicing at SCH.  He is one of the trainers for the PAACS residency.  PAACS stands for Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons.  It is a five-year residency program training Ethiopian physicians in general surgery.  As the only OB/GYN on staff at SCH, Mark is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  We are always seeking a little relief from this challenging schedule. If you are reading this and are interested in coming to SCH on a short-term mission trip or you are thinking about long term missions, please email us at 


A few pictures of the OB/GYN clinic.  On the left Mark is seeing patients with his nurse, Lakech. The middle photo shows many patients and their families waiting to be seen in the GYN clinic.  On the right is Mark in the clinic.


Allison:  Allison is a teacher with a passion for girl’s education.  Because of her desire to educate the girls of Wolaitta, she developed a ministry called WRAPS, (Washable, Reusable, Affordable, Pads).  This project employs nine local women in a small factory sewing the washable sanitary pads.  During the school year she goes into the rural schools teaching on menstruation, hygiene and encouraging the young girls, grade 5-8 to stay in school.  She gives each girl a WRAPS kit consisting of eight washable sanitary pads, one small purse called a Mary bag, one panty and one instruction sheet.  This ministry is currently dependent upon generous donations. However, at this time, she is developing alternative income generating projects such as colorful headbands and scarves and producing the WRAPS for other NGO’s in Ethiopia doing similar projects.  Allison also teaches a high school girl’s Bible study during the week.

Top left: Students receving their WRAPS kits, Middle top: Allison with our newest WRAPS employee, Megdes, Top right: Teaching at a rural school.  Bottom left:  Purchasing cloth for WRAPS headbands, Bottom middle:  Allison with her high school Bible Study girls.  Bottom right:  Teaching about menstruation at a rural middle school.  


Soddo:  Soddo is a growing community. Soddo is located in the Southern Nation State of Ethiopia, a six-hour drive south from the capital, Addis Ababa.    It is the regional capital of the Wolaitta people group.   Soddo Wolaitta University began about the same time as our hospital was built, 2005.   It has evolved into a 15,000 plus student body with a vast assortment of bachelor degree and master’s programs.  They are currently developing the former SIM Otona Hospital into a multilevel, highly equipped university teaching center with a medical school, midwifery school and nursing school.

Soddo Christian Hospital: The hospital was built in 2005 through the efforts of Dr. Harold Adolph and others. Dr. Adolph had been a missionary in Soddo for many years working at the former SIM mission hospital, Otona. When he returned after the downfall of the DERG, the Otona Hospital was under government control. He decided to build SCH. We are unapologetically a Christian Hospital. Bible studies are held in the wards every Thursday morning and chapel services are Wednesday morning. We employ five full time chaplains to minister to our patients and staff. Our current hospital has 135 beds in four wards; Medical/Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Surgical and Orthopedics. Our radiology department uses digital X-ray and we have a CT scanner. The surgery has four operating rooms and one small procedure room. We have an ICU ward and a PACU building that is currently under construction. We have a fully functioning kitchen that provides three meals a day for our patients.


A few pictures of the hospital grounds. Top left: An outdoor seating area for surgical clinics. Top middle: the surgical walkway with the surgical ward in front. Top right:  A view of the entrance to the medical ward. Bottom left: Walkway from the OB ward to the other wards. Middle: View of the OB ward from the road. Bottom right: The main entrance into the hospital wards.

The OB/GYN building has 18 post-op/post partum beds.  We have six labor beds and one delivery room.  We recently upgraded the building by creating a small NICU with two incubators and a step down NICU with five beds.  The OB/GYN clinic is in a separate building a few steps away from the ward.  This building hosts a GYN clinic room, OB room, family planning clinic and pediatric clinic.  We also have a library/conference room in this building.


Top left: The Hope Clinic. Top Middle: The front of the OB ward. Top right:  Mark outside of the GYN clinic.  Bottom right and middle: Two views of the delivery room. Bottom right: The back entrance of the OB ward seen from the Hope Clinic.

Our Greatest Needs:  Reading this you might ask, what is currently your greatest need at the hospital?  Besides needing more physicians, we would have to answer a new surgery building.  Our surgery is antiquated and over crowded.  We are the orthopedic trauma center of the Southern Nations where motor vehicle accidents account for the majority of our trauma.  Two of our surgical suites are reserved for orthopedic patients. One of the suites has two surgical tables.  The other two suites juggle all of the general surgery and obstetric/gynecology cases. We use cylinder oxygen and have no internal suction system.  Our ventilators are old and need to be replaced.

How you can help:   If you would like to donate to a new surgery suite you can go to or click on this website link in the column on the right.  Also our maternal benevolent fund is always running short. This fund pays for the hospital costs for poor women and their babies who would otherwise not receive care.  You can donate to this at either or global and type in the numbers 3020.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  We love our work at SCH, sharing our unique skills with the people, developing irreplaceable friendships, and sharing daily the goodness of God with His people.        





You must be logged in to post a comment.