Overcoming Barriers in Ethiopia

In remote regions of Ethiopia, women and families can face extreme difficulties when trying to access health care. I saw this firsthand. A few months ago, some colleagues and I travelled to rural communities in the Oromia and Amhara districts to document Pathfinder's programmatic work. There, I met health extension workers (HEW)*—amazing women who, as part of the Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP), provide a range of preventative health care to their neighboring families.

The health post I am visiting today is a simple cinder block building with three small rooms. Aminaa and her fellow HEW, Jamila, show us the private examination room, the secure storage area for medicines and supplies. Together, they point to the walls in the counseling area, which are covered with colorful health education posters and charts tracking the health data of the community. The rooms are very clean and welcoming. They have large windows, through which the light flows inside.

Aminaa spoke with us first. "I was born and raised here. I completed my secondary education, but when I took the national exam seven years ago, I did not pass. I was looking for a job and heard about the 'health extension training' course and decided to enroll. I completed the one year training and was posted to a very remote location. I worked there as an HEW for three years before being transferred here nearly four years ago.

"When I first came here, the concept of preventative care was difficult. People only understood 'getting medicines,' but did not understand that there were things they could do to stay healthier. We would try to teach people new things, but at first they were not very open. Now, it is much better. Before, people had no idea about vaccines, sanitation, maternal and child health, and family planning, but we began to work with them—to educate them— and now it is so different. I counsel all women between the ages of 15-49 on family planning."

"I see the women are happier and so are the men. The women have more time for themselves to take care of their families and to earn an income. She becomes empowered economically, which helps the family to have school for their children or buy medicines for them if they become ill."

Women in Aminaa's community never knew they had family planning options.

"Now," Aminaa says, "I see mothers spacing their pregnancies. To help them understand, I compare them to being a farmer who tills the land one year and leaves it fallow the next to make sure that the ground is more fertile and will grow better crops. Women can give their husbands more attention and then the love blossoms within the household. This is a big change for the husbands as well. When I go to their homes and talk about family planning, they participate. In some cases the wife will refuse contraception because she is afraid of the side effects. The husband will come to me and ask me to convince his wife to use a method."

Aminaa tells us how much more she is able to offer the people in the community now.

"I learned how to insert Implanon [a long-acting method of contraception] under supervision from the Health Center Director. She worked with me for a year and four months. For the past six months, I have been inserting it on my own. The greatest advantage to the implants is the length of time that they provide women with contraception."

A young woman arrives for family planning and agrees to let us stay and record her visit. Aminaa appears confident while interacting with the woman. She talks with her for a while, making her comfortable, and explains each of the methods of contraception available at the health post. The client asks a number of questions and then she decides that she wants to have Implanon inserted. She already has several children and does not want any more right now.

As I watch Aminaa provide services—explain how each contraceptive works, check her client's blood pressure and weight—I think back to the beginning of my own career when I worked as a counselor for Planned Parenthood.

I recall those exchanges with clients, when I felt so excited to be able to help women make a choice about contraception.

I see that same satisfaction in Aminaa's face.

I am also acutely aware of some of the differences between my experience and what I see here. The women in this community have had to overcome so many obstacles to make it here, to be receiving these services. They may not have even known about contraception before they became sexually active. The hour and a half they may have to walk each way to come to the health post may mean, should they miss a visit, they may face an unintended pregnancy. Or, they might make the journey and discover that the health post is out of the contraceptive they are using—something that never happened for the women I saw at Planned Parenthood.

Aminaa tells us, "In the beginning, there was a problem of running out of contraceptives at the Health Post. Since IFHP has been here, we now have a reliable supply of contraceptives for our clients. More than 300 women are using the implants."

It is clear that Aminaa is very proud to be serving her community and helping so many women and their families with improved health. I feel honored to be part of it, too.

*Having trained for her position for over a year, an HEW is ready to join her team at a community health post. Usually two-person teams, HEWS have a unique, effective system: one stays at the health post, while the other makes house- to- house visits, walking from one end of her village to the other.

Linda Suttenfield

Linda Suttenfield

Linda Suttenfield is Pathfinder International's Director of Communications.

Leave a Comment

* Change


Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family. ebookreviews.ning.com/
Robot November 23, 2014
Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot. digital ebooks
asdasd November 22, 2014
This type of message always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content, so happy to find good place to many here in the post, the writing is just great, thanks for the post. https://www.rebelmouse.com/breakupcurereviews/
sadasd November 20, 2014
Hello! Tiffany and co - Does Tiffany have an Outlet
Coach Factory Outlet 70% OfF -COACH OUTLET
Coach Factory Outlet : $39 New 2014 Bags
Coach Factory Outlet - Shop the latest designer bags
Coach Factory Outlet - Coach Outlet 80% Discount
Coach Outlet - Coach Factory Outlet 80% Discount
Coach Outlet Online - 75% off Coach Purses Outlet
Coach Factory Outlet - Coach Outlet 80% Up Clearance
Coach Handbags Outlet Online - Coach Handbags
Coach Outlet Online - Coach online Sale 70% Off
Coach Outlet - Coach Outlet Chesterfield MO
Coach Factory Outlet - Coach Factory Store
Coach Factory Outlet Online - Authentic Coach Factory Outlet
Coach Factory Outlet Coach, Inc. - Official Site
Coach Outlet Store Online - 20% Coach Factory Store Coupon
Coach Factory Outlet - Coach Outlet Discount 39.99
Coach Outlet - Official Coach Factory Outlet
coach Black Friday - COACH outlet $150+ Orders
Coach Factory Outlet - Store online
Coach Factory Outlet - Local results for Coach Factory Outlet
burberry handbags - Burberry - Official Site
Hermes Belt - Hermes Belts for 70% Off Handbags Outlet
burberry outlet - Burberry Outlet Online Store USA
Kate Spade Outlet Online - Kate Spade Jewelry Outlet
Kate Spade handbags - Kate Spade New York Crossbod
Kate Spade Outlet Online - Kate Spade Clearance
Kate Spade Black Friday - Official Kate Spade Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet - Michael Kors - Official Site
Michael Kors Outlet - Factory Outlet Michael Kors
Michael Kors Outlet - Michael Kors Handbags
Michael Kors Outlet Online - Michael Kors store for the latest designer trends
Michael Kors Black Friday - Shop for Michael Kors Handbags Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Store- Cheap Sale 78% OFF online
Michael Kors Outlet - Michael Kors Shoes
Michael Kors Outlet - Michael Kors Stores - Sale
Michael Kors Outlet Online Sale- Michael Kors: Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry
Michael Kors Outlet - Michael Kors on Sale
Michael Kors Outlet store - Save 40 - 70%. All the Sales
Louis Vuitton Outlet - Louis Vuitton - Official Site
Louis Vuitton - Store Locator
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online - Louis Vuitton Official USA Website
Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores - Images of louis vuitton
Louis Vuitton Handbags - Louis Vuitton Outlet - Louis Vuitton Outlet Online
Louis Vuitton Black Friday - Louis Vuitton - Louis Vuitton Outlet
Louis Vuitton Outlet - Louis Vuitton Red Carpet Fashion Louis Vuitton Bags
Chanel Outlet Online - Chanel Beauty Official Site
Chanel Outlet - Chanel Outlet Online - Chanel Handbags
Chanel Black Friday - Fragrance and Beauty
Chanel Handbags - Coco Chanel Chanel Tote Handbag
Chanel - Authentic Chanel Outlet Store online
Prada Factory Outlet Store - Prada Handbags
Prada Handbags - Prada Outlet Online Store
Prada Black Friday - Discount Prada Black Friday sale
Marc By Marc Jacobs - Marc Jacobs Handbags On Sale
Celine Handbags - Celine Handbags Nordstrom
Celine Handbags - Celine Handbags Barney's
Ray Ban Sunglasses - Ray Ban Sunglasses Sunglass Hut - Ray Ban Sunglasses Cockpit
Oakley Sunglasses - Oakley Sunglasses Oil Rig -Oakley Official Site
Ray-Ban Sunglasses - Ray Ban 3362 Sunglasses
Ray-Ban Sunglasses - Discontinued Ray Ban Sunglasses - Ray Ban Outlet
Ray Ban Sunglasses - Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses - Ray Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses
Ray Ban Black Friday - Ray-Ban is a brand of sunglasses
Oakley Sunglasses - Military Oakley Sunglasses - Wholesale Discount Oakley Sunglasses
Oakley Sunglasses - Cheap Oakley Sunglasses $9 Only
Oakley Vault - Oakley Holbrook Frogskins Black Friday
Oakley Black Friday - US Standard Oakley Government Sales
Toms Shoes Outlet Online - Toms Shoes On Sale 80% Off
hollister clothing store - Hollister Clothing for Sale - Hollister Store online
abercrombie and fitch - Abercrombie 30% Off Coupon - Abercrombie Outlet Sale
abercrombie and fitch - Abercrombie and Fitch Coupons Discounts
abercrombie Black Friday - Abercrombie and Fitch Sale
Polo Ralph Lauren - Ralph Lauren 30% Coupon Code - Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online
Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online - Polo Ralph Lauren Official Site
Ralph Lauren Black Friday - Ralph Lauren Outlet Mall online
tory burch outlet - Tory Burch Handbags 80% Off
tory burch shoes - Tory Burch Handbags Sale
Tory Burch Outlet - Tory Burch Handbags Clearance
Tory Burch Black Friday - Discount Tory Burch Shoes
Nike Air Jordan - Nike Air Jordan Release Dates - Nike Air Jordan Retro 13
valentino - Valentino's Restaurant Baltimore - Valentino Shoes
Toms Shoes Outlet Online - Toms Shoes Outlet Online Free Shipping - Toms Shoes
supra shoes - Supra Footwear Official Website
True Religion - Official True Religion Outlet
True Religion Black Friday - Cheap True Religion Jeans Wholesale
True Religion Outlet - Official True Religion Outlet
True Religion jeans - True Religion Brand Jeans
Tiffany Black Friday - True Religion Products
frey wille jewellery - Frey Wille - Frey Wille USA
sac longchamp - Sac Longchamp Pas Cher
timberland shoes - Timberland Boots On Sale
red bottom shoes - Red Bottom Shoe 70% Off - Designer Red Bottom Shoes
red bottom shoes Free Shipping + Free Exchanges. Shoes and Bags as low as $39.95!
Tiffany and co jewelry - Tiffany & Company is an American
Tiffany and co - Tiffany Diamond Necklaces Outlet
coachoutlet November 20, 2014
I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post. https://www.rebelmouse.com/3secondsexualattractionreview/
asdasd November 19, 2014
Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging.. https://www.rebelmouse.com/3secondsexualattractionreview/
asdsdk November 19, 2014
This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you. www.rebelmouse.com
Robot November 19, 2014
This is a big modify for the partners as well. During I go to their houses besides speech about brood programma, they join. official source
anu November 18, 2014
burberry outlet burberry handbags ray ban sunglass tory burch outlet burberry handbags coach factory outlet coach factory outlet tory burch handbags coach factory outlet michael kors outlet online copy watches mont blanc pen holister clothing chanel handbags coach outlet canada goose jackets true religion sale michael kors outlet online sale abercrombie kids belstaff timberland canada ghd hair strighteners louis vuitton handbags www.louisvuitton.com imitation watches knockoff watches hermes belts louis vuitton outlet online timberland boots red timberland boots louis vuitton mont blanc legend coach outlet store online p90x workouts holister co the north face outlet abercrombie fitch canada goose jordan 13 gucci shoes mont blanc pen burberry outlet toms canada ray ban glasses louis vuitton black friday ugg boots christian louboutin sale juicy couture black friday cyber monday deals holister true religion sale michael kors handbags tory burch shoes hollister clothing burberry supra shoes nike outlet stores louis vuitton handbags toms wedges the north face jackets ugg sale true religion kors outlet gucci shoes timberland boots ugg boots beats headphones timberland canada coach outlet store online michael kors outlet moncler outlet rayban sunglasses burberry handbags ugg boots fake watches true religion discount oakley sunglasses canada goose abercrombie & fitchfitch coach outlet store online jordan retro adida srunning shoes cyber monday sales louis vuitton outlet canada goose sale louis vuitton handbags rayban sunglasses louis vuitton handbags tory burch outlet online hollister clothing store oakley sunglasses mont blanc christian louboutin shoes replica rolex watches true religion sale oakley vault cheap uggs michael kors outlet online sale burberry bags canada goose christian louboutin sale abercrombie store coach factory outlet louis vuitton handbags timberlands abercrombie store burberry sale oakley sunglasses wholesale louis vuitton kobe shoes celine outlet michael kors outlet hollister co michael kors outlet retro jordans burberry outlet online true religion jeans michael kors handbags abercrombie burberry sale oakley sunglasses gucci belts dior handbags oakley sunglasses wholesale adidas outlet store jordan 11 gamma blue michael kors outlet online chanel online shop lululemon ray ban sunglasses hollister clothing mont blanc mountain louis vuitton canada goose jackets cheap oakleys cyber monday sales tods shoes outlet oakley sunglasses moncler jackets ralph lauren uk rayban sunglasses outlet louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton online shop canada goose jackets coach factory online timberland red christian louboutin gucci handbags insanity workout louis vuitton outlet fitflops michael kors uk christian louboutin sale holister clothing store michael kors canada goose outlet timberland outlet burberry outlet ralph lauren outlet black friday ads michael kors outlet online marc jacobs red bottom shoes guess outlet michael kors cheap nfl jerseys polo ralph lauren michael kors outlet cheap jerseys ugg australia christian louboutin sale canada goose ferragamo givenchy jordan concords jordan 4 coach outlet hollister kids adidas shoes oakley sunglasses outlet chanel outlet cheap oakley sunglasses jordan 8 coco chanel tory burch sale timberland uk cheap nfl jerseys red bottoms jordan retro 11 jordan 11 coach factory outlet lv outlet jordan shoes christian louboutin chanel bags burberry handbags canada goose jacket cheap toms abercrombie and fitch louis vuitton toms shoes ugg australia true religion jeans chanel handbags ray ban outlet cheap uggs tory burch outlet jordan 11s jordan 11 low louis vuitton michael kors outlet online ugg boots outlet celine outlet ray ban aviators red timberland boots kevin durant shoes oakley sunglasses wholesale true religion outlet moncler jackets the north face true religion outlet toms outlet replica watches christian louboutin outlet ray ban sunglasses coach outlet gucci shoes ugg outlet rayban sunglass dolce gabbana oakley sunglasses marc jacobs louis vuitton outlet kobe bryant shoes abercrombie and fitch fendi outlet oakley sunglasses cheap burberry handbags tods sale abercrombie jimmy choo outlet polo ralph lauren ugg shoes canada goose outlet ray ban outlet timberlands fitflop shoes toms shoes burberry bags louis vuitton outlet gucci outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet north face black friday burberry scarf white timberland boots chanel outlet online timberland outlet toms promo code chi flat iron adidas outlet hollister jeans prada shoes burberry outlet online timberland outlet polo outlet canada goose outlet uggs australia concords 11 uggs outlet coach factory burberry outlet burberry scarf christian louboutin outlet north face outlet ray bans tory burch outlet canada goose black timberland boots gucci outlet abercrombie store toms shoes bottega veneta outlet versace outlet concord 11 cheap beats bydre coach outlet chanel outlet chanel bags burberry outlet online coach outlet online coach outlet cyber monday sales coach outlet store online christian louboutin outlet coach factory outlet burberry outlet kate spade oakley sunglasses cheap north face jackets air jordan 11 kors outlet cheap jordans ray bans hermes birkin mulberry kate spade outlet hollister clothing abercrombie outlet toms chanel bags michael kors adidas wings christian louboutin outlet canada goose coach outlet store online true religion www.louisvuitton.com louis vuitton holister outlet ralph lauren outlet louis vuitton outlet stors michael kors handbags chanel beats solo burberry bags ray ban sunglasses outlet christian louboutin shoes abercrombie gucci outlet rolex watches outlet michael kors outlet michael kors uk abercrombie outlet lebron james shoes white timberland boots timberland uk canada goose outlet timberland boots retro 11 abercrombie & fitch louis vuitton ray ban wayfarer ralph lauren burberry outlet michael kors outlet online sale alexander wang michael kors cyber monday deals timberland pro michael kors jordan 3 cheap uggs canada goose outlet canada goose jackets jordan 11 columbia burberry scarf ugg boots sale jordan 6 true religion kids oakley sunglasses wholesale louis vuitton burberry sale fitflops outlet burberry scarf tods outlet store holister kids black timberland boots mont blanc pens beats by dr dre true religion louis vuitton outlet tods shoes louis vuitton handbags timberland uk burberry outlet online michael kors handbags coach factory store online oakley outlet jeremy scott adidas tory burch flats lebron james shoes cheap nfl jerseys oakley vault tods outlet burberry outlet abercrombie true religion sale holister timberland earthkeepers hogan shoes canada goose jackets coach factory ugg australia christian louboutin canada goose jackets ray ban wayfarer timberland boots christian louboutin sale chanel handbags oakley sunglasses wholesale louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton black friday beats studio burberry bags polo ralph lauren home
xiaozhengm123 November 17, 2014
A young gal flourishs for generation programma also cooperates to cause us tarry also minutes her stopover. Aminaa materializes self-assured stretch interacting along the gal. E-mail Hosting
anu November 17, 2014
At each of its three levels, the ISEE consists of three parts: carefully constructed and standardized verbal and quantitative reasoning tests that measure capability for learning; reading comprehension and mathematics achievement tests that provide specific information about a student's strengths and weaknesses in those areas. For the quality writing EssayThinker - best writing service is best one and really awesome custom essay writing service providers.
Avani November 17, 2014
Thanks for sharing this content through your portal. You are truly awesome. http://bloodpressuresolutionreviewkenburge.blogspot.com/2014/11/blood-pressure-solution-review.html
Name November 15, 2014
I am writer and your blogs have really challenged me. I would like to share a few tips with your readers on best dissertation writing service. I believe this could help some writers crack out of their shells and actually release the potential they have inside. Please let me know if I may.
duin November 15, 2014
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one! I am always on the lookout for quality posts and articles so i suppose im lucky to have found this! I hope you will be adding more in the future. Cute christmas present ideas for girlfriend
Mandy November 14, 2014
Whether you are traveling to http://www.martin-audio.com/option.asp some foreign or domestic destination
Yblirt November 14, 2014
You people are truly amazing. I admire your work. Your progressive movement is really good. I always want to work in Africa and especially on Ethiopia. I will definitely help people with my skills. I would go there when I finish my medical degree. Thanks for sharing…office 2010 home and student
peterparker February 24, 2014
Scroll to top