Ethiopia’s Great Health Reform

Monday, December 19, 2016

Edna lives in a village on the outskirts of Berhale, roughly 900 kilometres from Addis Ababa. Every day, she travels through the desert to deliver essential health services to families’ doorsteps. As a front -line health worker, Edna is part of a historic movement that has extended primary health care to the poorest and most marginalised communities and saved millions of lives.

At the turn of the Millennium, for every 1,000 children born in Ethiopia, 166 would not make it to their fifth birthday. With the closest health clinic often located hours away, pregnancy was a matter of life and death for children and their mothers.

To turn things around and expand coverage of essential health services, the Ethiopian government launched the Health Extension Programme in 2003. Since then 38,000 community health workers have gone through a year-long training program that prepares them to treat acute illnesses as well as provide family planning and immunisation services.

As of today, more than a decade after its inception, the programme has saved millions of lives by delivering essential health services to previously unreachable districts.

Source: All Africa (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health