Seattle Alliance Outreach

Our Mission is to provide support for the improvement of medical care in developing areas of the world. SAO has no religious affiliation.


Waiting for Life Saving Dialisis

Patients waiting to be seen at the Kidney Dialysis Clinic in Addis Ababa. Kidney failure is a chronic, deadly problem for many Ethiopians, who often forgo treatment due to lack of funds. SAO is working to provide a severely needed dialysis facility, along with training and education to medical staff. Unfortunately, the prognosis for many of these patients is grim. Without accessible and affordable dialysis, the patient’s quality of life suffers, and many die.

Patients Waiting for Care

Patients waiting to be seen at the Black Lion (Tikur Anbessa) Hospital, Addis Ababa

Board of Directors

Kidney Dialysis Clinic

Dr. Tesfaya inserting a central line on a patient at the Kidney Dialysis Clinic in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

There are approximately 4.6 million residents in the city and outlying metro areas. 78% of Ethiopians struggle with an income below US$2 a day. The State Health expenditure is approximately $3 per person in Ethiopia

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About Us

In 2008, doctors and nurses working at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital established the nonprofit organization Seattle Anesthesia Outreach (SAO). The founders had earlier participated in medical missions to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, but had grown frustrated with the limitations of these short-term humanitarian service efforts. About UsThe main problem: while these surgical missions delivered much-needed aid to those patients treated, there were no sustainable benefits to the population. The medical skills and knowledge involved in these efforts left the countries when the volunteer doctors and nurses flew home. In response to this shortcoming, the SAO founders decided to broaden their volunteer-driven program in ways that would provide training, equipment, and ongoing support to struggling medical facilities. Now, having pursued its expanded agenda for nearly four years, SAO has gained the experience and the insight needed to implement a successful knowledge, skills, and equipment transfer model. Long-term, SAO’s efforts will help establish sustainable medical capabilities and services that can flourish locally on their own. As important, SAO’s partnership-based services model is one that other organizations could adopt and expand in like engagements throughout the world. Read More 

In the News


The SAO Renal Team completed a visit to St. Paulus Hospital, Addis Ababa, February 15-March 2, 2018 Dr. Richard Solazzi, President, Dr. Sandra Watkins, Nephrologist and Renal Director, Mr. Chip Watkins, Engineer, Building Projects Director, Dr. Kaj Johanson, Vascular Surgeon, and Lara Severn, PD Nurse Specialist and Trainer, were present. The primary focus of the trip was to clarify and support the progress of the PD solution production at Pharmacure, a local pharmaceutical...

Thank You to Boeing!

Thank You to Boeing for supporting us with their charitable giving campaign. We recently received a check from them for $25,256.00! This brings their total donation to $112,623.00! We are humbled and extremely grateful for the generosity of everyone at Boeing. This money will go far in allowing us to continue our work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A heartfelt thank you from all of us at SAO.


Led by Dr. Sandra Skovlund, the SAO support for this department also continues. Two more of the chief residents from the University of Minnesota spent a week with Dr. Skovlund giving lectures, helping during surgery, and working with the AAU ENT residents.  Additionally, they were actively involved in helping teach a temporal bone drilling workshop that was very well received. Sandra experimented with and donated a Dremel drill for this purpose. This low-cost drill worked well, and during our...


Our efforts to assist in the establishment of Ethiopia’s first peritoneal dialysis program are also showing gratifying results. Unlike hemodialysis, which for the most part must be performed in an inpatient or outpatient health care facility, peritoneal dialysis (PD) can be accomplished in the home setting. For this reason, a successful PD program has the potential to help many many more patients than could ever be possible through a hemodialysis program alone.  For this reason, the...

Expansion Plans for Outpatient Hemodialysis

For some time, SAO has been working closely with our contacts in Ethiopia to establish a sustainable plan for expansion of outpatient hemodialysis. Two encouraging developments that occurred during our most recent trip provide tangible signs of progress. First, after many months of work and negotiation, the Addis Ababa Health Bureau, Ethiopian Kidney Failure Dialysis Charity Organization, and St Paulus and Zewiditu Hospitals, have all accepted SAO’s proposal for structuring the program for the...

Featured Volunteers

Philip Cook

SAO wouldn’t be where we are today without our volunteers. Today I’d like to profile one of our volunteers, Philip Cook. Philip is an Anesthesia Technician. He has been on 6 trips to Ethiopia and 1 trip to Ecuador with SAO.What drives you to do volunteer work:

“I enjoy the challenges. As many other of my mission co-workers can attest to, there is never a shortage of them on a mission. I enjoy finding the solutions whether they be in a greasy machine shop in a sketchy part of Addis, or in the bottom of a cargo box that arrived a week late. read more

Vangie Alvarez Cupat

“I am a Specialty Charge Nurse of ENT and Maxillofacial service in South Tower Surgery at Swedish First Hill. I have been at Swedish for 19 years. I grew up in a country where healthcare is only for the privileged…insurance is a rare word. There’s a pinch in my heart to see patients and families tell stories of having their properties pawned to loan sharks because the only way to get access to care is to dole out cash in a bag–it doesn’t matter how much pain you have, how big and visible your tumor is. Pay up first. It was that unspeakable poverty, it was…read more

Chelsy Cross

Chelsy Cross is one of our awesome volunteers! Thanks for your efforts on behalf of SAO, Chelsy!!
Q: What is your job title:
A: I’m a Medical Imaging Engineer; I primarily install, perform routine and corrective maintenance and train users on many types of radiology imaging devices including ultrasound, Xray, and fluoroscopy. In my recent past, I also worked as a Clinical Engineer, specializing in hemodialysis equipment, patient vital sign monitors, nurse call equipment, and surgery…read more

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