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Introducing medical genetics services in Ethiopia using the MiGene Family History App

Genetics in Medicine (2018) | Download Citation




Almost all low-income countries and many middle-income countries lack the capacity to deliver medical genetics services. We developed the MiGene Family History App (MFHA), which assists doctors with family history collection and population-level epidemiologic analysis. The MFHA was studied at St. Paul’s Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


A needs assessment was used to assess Ethiopian physicians’ experience with genetics services. The MFHA then collected patient data over a 6-month period.


The majority of doctors provide genetics services, with only 16% reporting their genetics knowledge is sufficient. A total of 1699 patients from the pediatric ward (n = 367), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (n = 477), and antenatal clinic (n = 855) were collected using the MFHA with a 4% incidence of a MFHA-screened condition present. The incidence was 11.7% in the pediatric ward, 3% in the NICU, and 0.5% in the antenatal clinic. Heart malformations (5.5% of patients) and trisomy 21 (4.4% of patients) were the most common conditions in the pediatric ward.


Medical genetics services are needed in Ethiopia. As other countries increase their genetics capacity, the MFHA can provide fundamental genetics services and collect necessary epidemiologic data.

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This work was funded by grants from the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics including the Intramural Research Funding Program (Benz Birth Defects Research Award) and the Percy and Mary Murphy Children’s Research Fund.


The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Author information


  1. Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, Division of Genetics, Metabolism and Genomic Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

    • Shane C. Quinonez MD
  2. Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    • Abate Yeshidinber MD
    • , Yemisrach Mekonnen MD
    • , Gesit Metaferia MD
    •  & Solomie Jebessa MD
  3. University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

    • Michael A. Lourie MPH
  4. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    • Delayehu Bekele MD, MPH
    •  & Balkachew Nigatu MD


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Correspondence to Shane C. Quinonez MD.

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