Ethiopia: Our Impact

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

This story originally appeared on SIAPSProgram.org. This year’s National Annual Review led by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) brought together more than 850 health professionals from across the country to discuss the way forward in public health for the coming year. The MoH identified eight priority areas, one of them being the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program/Ethiopia's transformative APTS system—the first time a pharmacy area was selected as part of the annual review meeting agenda.

 {Photo credit: Annette Scheckler/MSH.}Pharmacist Bethlehem Nega counsels a patient.Photo credit: Annette Scheckler/MSH.

Updated January 30, 2015 A Phone Call for Health Alongside a road in a remote area of the Amhara Region, Solomon Dawit*, a truck driver from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, sits waiting for a ride to the nearest town. He has two big problems: his truck has broken down and he doesn’t know how long it would take to get the parts needed to fix it. Another problem?  He is running out of his lifesaving antiretroviral (ARV) medication. After one month of waiting, Dawit’s truck is fixed, and he heads back home to Addis Ababa.

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Merigeta says he is "now alive and healthy" thanks to the teaching of a religious leader trained by ENHAT-CS.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

“I was angry at life! I was too weak to work; I couldn’t even feed myself. When I took my [antiretroviral] medicine on an empty stomach, it gave me stomach pains. So I decided to quit the medicine and instead go to a monastery and use holy water,” says Merigeta.

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

For more than eight years, the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) has been saving lives through stronger supply chains. Funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), SCMS is supporting rapid scale-up of HIV/AIDS programs, creating a reliable global supply chain where none existed, leveraging economies of scale to reduce costs, and serving as an emergency provider of choice for AIDS programs. SCMS is managed by the non-profit Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM)—a partnership of John Snow, Inc. (JSI), and Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

For over a decade, the Government of Ethiopia has been working to improve tuberculosis (TB) screening and has been greatly successful in increasing case detection. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, solving one problem created another: the nation now struggles to maintain an adequate supply of medicine to treat the newly diagnosed patients. Health facilities experience frequent stock outs of anti-TB medications, leaving many patients without treatment for weeks and even months.

 {Photo credit: Rebeka Nigatu/MSH.}Birhanu Weyecha, Ambo Prison Clinic Head, has seen hundreds of inmates become infected with TB and transmit the disease to others.Photo credit: Rebeka Nigatu/MSH.

Ethiopia has the seventh highest TB burden in the world. Out of every 100,000 Ethiopians, 572 are infected with TB. In Ethiopian prisons, this prevalence rate can be three to four times higher due to crowded quarters and insufficient TB control services.  In the three decades he has worked at Ambo Prison as clinic head, Birhanu Weyecha has seen hundreds of inmates become infected with TB and transmit the disease to other prisoners and staff.

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

The Gender Directorate’s mandate is to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout the ministry of health in Ethiopia. This is a very difficult and important mandate. Building our capacity is the first step to fulfill this responsibility. We must plan, design, advocate, implement and monitor interventions to mainstream gender, and this requires leadership, knowledge, awareness, and skills.

 {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.

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