Ethiopia: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Religious leaders privately counsel HIV patients outside Teklehaimanot Monastery.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

When Berhe Menaso’s wife passed away seven years back, he was faced with the challenge of raising their eight children by himself. But he was sick and too weak to work on his small farm at the time, and his youngest daughter, then only 3 years old, was also very sick. So one early morning he woke his daughter and they went together to the hospital for a checkup. They learned that they were both HIV positive. Based on the advice given to him at the health center, he then brought his seven older children to the hospital for HIV testing and found that they were all HIV negative.

{Photo credit: MSH staff/ SIAPS Ethiopia.}Photo credit: MSH staff/ SIAPS Ethiopia.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Increasing Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program has partnered with the Government of Ethiopia to bring a 100-year-old pharmaceutical management system into the 21st century. The Auditable Pharmacy Transactions and Services (APTS) is a package of data-driven interventions that ultimately result in a continuous supply of essential medicines, optimal budget utilization, and improved pharmacy services.

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

"Some years back there was no one to teach us, so we gave birth to HIV-positive children. But now we can teach others so no child will be born with the virus," says Jember, a mother mentor at Korem Health Center in Tigray, Ethiopia. Four HIV-positive women, Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, envisioning that no child be born with HIV in their town, started to work as mother mentors at Korem Health Center to achieve their vision.

First established in 1974, the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Association (EPA) has evolved to become one of the strongest and most exemplary professional associations in Ethiopia. Held up as a model, the EPA is the country’s first professional association to develop continuing professional development guidelines that are used nationwide. Recognizing the EPA’s professional capacity to lead the pharmaceutical sector, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health has actively engaged the association in formulating the country’s health policy.

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Genfo, an Ethiopian porridge especially prepared for women to help them recover after delivering a baby.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

In Ethiopia, pregnant women eagerly await the traditional birth ceremony accompanying their delivery as much as they wait for their baby. In anticipation of the birth, the expectant mother and her friends celebrate together: dancing special dances and tasting distinctive foods that the mother will eat after her baby is born, such as genfo, an Ethiopian porridge. During delivery, the mother’s friends and family prepare a coffee ceremony, burn incense, and make genfo.

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Aba Gebrekidan visiting Miliat and her family.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

“How can a person go into the sea, and come out without getting wet?” asks Likebirihanat Aba Gebrekidan Gebregiorgis during a training of religious leaders in August 2012, held in Tigray, Ethiopia. His question refers to his belief that medical treatment and divine intervention together can ensure a healthy child is born to HIV-positive parents.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman, Ethiopia.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman, Ethiopia.

HIV and AIDS patients worldwide depend on lifesaving drugs to extend their lives and improve their quality of life. In Ethiopia, where an estimated 2.2 million people are living with HIV and AIDS, access to these lifesaving medicines, particularly for people living outside of the capital city, means depending on an efficient and effective pharmaceutical supply chain to get the medicines to keep them alive.

{Photo: Warren Zelman}Photo: Warren Zelman

Azmara Ashenafi, a 35-year-old woman from the Amhara region of Ethiopia, was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and placed on treatment. Although she took this medicine for months, her symptoms persisted and eventually became so severe that she sought further treatment at the Muja Health Center.

 {Photo credit: Eskindir Degu/MSH}Endiros Tadiswal after completing two months of TB treatment.Photo credit: Eskindir Degu/MSH

When the community health worker knocked on his door, Endiros Tadiswal was relieved. The 19-year-old boy had been suffering from a terrible cough, chest pains, fever, and weight loss for nearly six months and had become too weak to attend school.

{Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH}Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH

Living with her unemployed husband, 10-month-old son, and 8-year-old HIV-positive daughter, Mearg felt that life was hopeless before joining a Mothers' Support Group (MSG) at Korem Health Center in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. But membership in the MSG, complemented by participation in her community’s association for people living with HIV, helped her regain self-esteem.

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