Ethiopia is the largest country in the horn of Africa, with a population of 99 million (The World Bank, 2015). The country has suffered from severe famines since the 1980s and is now experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent times. Millions of people in Ethiopia, the majority of which live in rural settings, are suffering from a lack of food and aid. With devastating impacts on health, less than 10% all of births are attended by skilled birth attendants, and life expectancy remains low at 64 years (The World Bank, 2014). Additionally, related to its position bordering countries suffering from long and deadly conflicts such as Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Ethiopia receives large numbers of refugees.
of births are attended by skilled birth attendants
WAHA strives to improve access to quality reproductive healthcare in Ethiopia. We work to increase the capacity of local midwives to provide quality maternal care and to ensure comprehensive care for women with birth complications. Raising community awareness on best practice in reproductive health and the availability of key health services is also part of our holistic approach to improve women’s health.
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Gondar, Assela, Jimma
Fistula Treatment Programs
In Ethiopia, rates of obstetric fistula continue to be elevated. To eliminate this preventable condition, it is necessary to scale-up the country’s capacity to provide quality treatment for women.
Since 2009 WAHA International has developed an obstetric fistula and pelvic floor disorders treatment program that is currently situated in three Ethiopian University Teaching Hospitals: Gondar, Assella, and Jimma.
WAHA International has partnered with the Federal Ministry of Health to establish, equip and run fistula wards in these hospitals. Our fistula programs include the identification and transportation of patients, surgical and non-surgical treatment, as well as continuous care and support services. With the aim of improving local capacity our interventions serve as training opportunities for local staff and students.
In our Gondar Fistula Center, we are pilot testing an economic rehabilitation program in which women upon their release from hospital learn handcraft production and then can join a specialized production and sales center for artisanal crafts and goods.
Arsi zone – Oromia region
Maternal health system strengthening
Since 2013, WAHA has been strengthening midwifery care in Arsi zone, Oromia region. We have been providing refresher training to over 200 local midwives, supported the rehabilitation and equipping of over 40 health facilities and set up a mobile technology-based support system to connect midwives with other health professionals and hospitals during emergencies. This ongoing project has shown significant increases in the quality and quantity of maternal health services provided throughout the region.
Dollo Ado camp
Gender-Based Violence Research
WAHA is carrying out a research intervention around cultural and community practices to examine intimate partner violence (IPV) within the predominantly Muslim refugee population in the Dollo Ado refugee camp of Bokolmayo, Somali region. This research will help guide future interventions to prevent gender-based violence.
Arsi zone – Oromia region
Emergency Malnutrtion Program
In response to the resurgence of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), rise in poverty, and decrease in agricultural production in Ethiopia, WAHA International has launched an emergency program to prevent and address malnutrition in Somali region. In collaboration with health extension workers, the program aims to provide early identification of women and children with moderate to severe acute malnutrition and raise awareness of available treatments and referral systems in place.
WAHA also runs Mobile Health Teams in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in settlements lacking health facilities where teams of nutrition specialists provide free medical examinations, medication and screening for malnutrition, as well as enrollment in out-patient therapeutic and follow-up programs.
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Comprehensive reproductive health services in Dollo Ado refugee camps
Working with UNHCR, UNFPA and BPRM from 2013 – 2015, WAHA International established a comprehensive emergency obstetric care (CEmOC) referral unit for the Dollo Ado refugee camps and provided basic and comprehensive reproductive health care services. A community outreach program increased the number of skilled attendants during deliveries in a health facility and encouraged general uptake of key reproductive health services by the community.