Ethiopia is Africa’s fourth largest and second most populated country.
It is also diverse with more than seventy seven different ethnic groups, each with their own distinct languages. The largest groups being the Oromo and Amhara.
Interact Worldwide has been working in Ethiopia in the northern and southern region of Ethiopia for many years. Over this time the the sexual and reroductive health of most of the countries population has improved a lot. In 2006 for example, only 34% of women were able to get contraception now the figure is close to double that. National HIV prevalence has also dropped by 25% in recent years.
However, some groups are in danger of being left behind.
In 2009 Ethiopia had one of the highest rates of pregnancies to HIV positive mothers in the world, shockingly only 8% of these women had access to treatment.
Young people especially girls are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, HIV, early pregnancies and arising complications like fistula. Health service coverage is very poor and the status of women lower than men in traditional culture. Harmful traditional practices still practiced such as early marriage and female genital mutilation have bad impacts on women’s health.
In Ethiopia Interact Worldwide is working with:
Young people because youth represent the largest section of the country’s population. They're also particularly vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health problems.
HIV prevalence among young people is high compared to adults and early marriage rates are high across Ethiopia, but particularly in the Amhara region where Interact's partner works. Unconfirmed figures claim that nearly half of Amharan girls are married before they are 15. This has contributed to high number of girls dropping out of school or dying during child birth.
People living with HIV and AIDS and in particular, women living with HIV and AIDS. Supported by The Positive Action for Children Fund, Interact is working to encourage women living with HIV and AIDS to seek and use HIV and AIDS and family planning services, in order to prevent HIV transmission from mother-to-child. Interact is also them to generate income so that women can access services and lead healthy and productive lives.
Mothers because about 25,000 women die annually due to pregnancy or birth related complications and access to health services is poor, especially in the rural areas.
To address this Interact Worldwide’s three country project with funding from the BIG Lottery "Closing the Gaps" is working to improve maternal and neonatal health in poor and marginalised communities through increased skilled birth attendance, improved quality and coverage of maternal and newborn services; including emergency obstetric care, antenatal care and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS. The programme also supports mothers and babies in the first few weeks after birth and gives information on family planning that is available.
Young People in Action: Empowering Ethiopian Adolescents
Interact, in partnership with the Ethiopian Muslim Relief and Development Association (EMRDA), empowers young people to overcome poverty. We provide skill training and financial support to reduce their sexual health risks through our ‘Young People in Action’ project.
Closing the Gaps between mothers and care
Around the world hundreds of thousands of women still die in child birth each year. According to a 2010 report for every 100,000 women giving birth in Malawi, 675 die each year. For the most part these deaths would be prevented, if only those mothers had skilled attendance at birth, and a step towards the kind of health services that mean in the UK, less than 10 mothers in a 100,000 die giving birth.