The latest in global sexual and reproductive health news
She enjoys a rapture of delight for becoming part of the achievement made by the government and USAID’s Integrated Family Health Programme, in what she described as a programme that helps the community rekindle its dream of having a healthy child.
Call for Expression of Interest in Reproductive, Maternal, and Neonatal Health Innovation Fund Grants
Ethiopia's Federal Ministry of Health has initiated the Reproductive, Maternal, and Neonatal Health Innovation Fund (RIF). The Fund will finance innovative projects that address demand-side barriers in reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health. Deadline for submission of Expression of Interest to the Federal Ministry of Healthwill be September 15, 2014.
“Women build the society. They build a nation. And investing in family planning is investing in the future.”-Dr. Tewodros Bekele, Director of Maternal, Child Health & Nutrition Programs, Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health
Wudinesh Demisse raises her hand above her head, showing off the matchstick-sized birth-control implant embedded just beneath the skin of her upper arm.
Wudinesh, 28, is a farmer in rural West Arsi, in Ethiopia's central Oromia region. With three children already, Wudinesh says it is time to stop. "For me, three is enough," she says, through a translator. "If they are too many, they are too expensive."
"Any primary health clinic that doesn't provide abortions is a missed opportunity," said Demet Güral, a physician and vice-president of programmes at Pathfinder International.
Even if women have access to contraception, there are always failure rates, says Güral, and it is essential they can access safe abortion if needed.
"Especially for youth; most are not married, they have a future. How can you talk about family planning for youth and not talk about abortion?
“The Women Development Army are women that have implemented the health extension program of government very well so that others in their communities can see what they are benefitting out of this health extension program so that they can adapt or adopt what this Women Development Army are doing,” said Tariku Nigatu, who works with Pathfinder International in Ethiopia.
Dr. Mengistu Asnake of Ethiopia is the second recipient of the 2013 EXCELL award for family planning achievement at the individual level. Dr. Asnake is Pathfinder International’s Country Representative in Ethiopia, and also serves as its Chief of Party for the Integrated Family Health Program. Dr. Asnake has played a key role in the development of national family planning strategies and guidelines.
Civil society and NGOs are also essential to these efforts. A USAID partnership with Pathfinder International and John Snow, Inc. is using innovative task-sharing programs to expand access to long-acting contraceptives in rural areas through community-based provision of implants.
At a rural health post in the Tigray region, we spoke to a young woman named Meheret, who has been a health extension worker for eight years, and had received training through the USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Program implemented by Pathfinder International. She has seen many changes during that time but remembers well the tough challenges at the outset.