Partnering for better health and stronger communities
Alliances help address Ethiopia’s pressing health issues
In 2010, PATH opened our office in Ethiopia to bring our experience and expertise to bear on the country’s health challenges. Through a variety of cross-cutting programs and strategies, we are also working to address the core issue of poverty, which is a serious obstacle to better health and economic stability for families and communities.
Partnerships are essential to our strategy. We work with community-based groups, government agencies, and other collaborators to strengthen the country’s health system at every level while addressing urgent health priorities. Our alliances with hundreds of community collaborators provide a way to reach families and communities and promote change from the ground up.
From HIV/AIDS to child malnutrition to malaria, PATH is applying innovative new strategies and proven solutions to improve the health and well-being of Ethiopians.
Strengthening HIV/AIDS programs
More than a million Ethiopians are living with HIV. We are improving the ability of Ethiopian communities to respond to the epidemic by building the capabilities of civil society organizations whose staff provide services tailored to their communities.
Our largest program is an initiative called Strengthening Communities’ Responses to HIV/AIDS. The initiative aims to reach 300 towns and 900,000 individuals in the next few years. Working with more than 200 civil society organizations across Ethiopia, we are improving the ability of community-based health workers to deliver clinical care, including integrated tuberculosis and HIV screening, as well as nonclinical care, such as HIV counseling.
Our HIV/AIDS activities include working with local universities to develop a social worker education program that integrates HIV/AIDS training into the curriculum and improving awareness and services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Improving access and strengthening HIV treatment and services opens the door to other needed assistance, including economic strengthening activities, information about better nutrition to avoid malnutrition, and HIV prevention and testing for family members.
An estimated 40 to 50 percent of children in Ethiopia are chronically malnourished. We are training clinic- and hospital-based health workers to provide integrated, high-quality nutrition services. We’re also developing educational materials and other resources to enhance community outreach.
With our expertise in infant feeding and care, we are supporting the Ethiopian government in developing, testing, and launching a community-based model for maternal and child nutrition and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In addition, we’re training agricultural extension workers to integrate nutrition information into their work.
Scaling up malaria prevention and control
Malaria is a major public health threat in Ethiopia, responsible for up to 20 percent of deaths of children less than five years old. Even before we opened our program office, the MACEPA program at PATH was helping to strengthen the country’s ability to reduce malaria transmission by scaling up prevention and control efforts.
To help inform decision-making and resource allocation, we work with partners to assess the impact of malaria interventions in five regions of Ethiopia. Other work includes developing a national malaria elimination manual and training health extension workers on using rapid diagnostic tests and strategies to detect malaria epidemics early. We also provide technical expertise to the Ministry of Health in developing funding proposals for malaria interventions.
Expanding services for tuberculosis
Ethiopia has one of the world’s highest burdens of tuberculosis (TB). We are working with collaborators to improve, expand, and sustain TB services through the Help Ethiopia Address Low TB Performance project. The project aims to strengthen Ethiopia’s ability to deliver TB services and implement the internationally recommended TB control strategy known as DOTS as well as to improve referral systems.
We focus on improving community TB awareness, multidrug-resistant TB diagnosis and care, and public–private partnerships. We provide technical assistance to regional health bureaus, zonal, and woreda (district) health offices in implementing community-based TB care and other aspects of TB prevention and control. And we support community actors including health extension workers and nongovernmental organizations to strengthen community-based TB structures, ensuring better referral systems, improved case detection, and increased adherence to treatment.
Banner photo: PATH/Carib Nelson.