Activities in Ethiopia

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Adapt an orphan (victim of HIV/AIDS)!

Helping Primary Health Care (PHC)

In late 1993, a survey was conducted by our members on the existing health problems in the area allocated by an indigenous NGO, known as the Integrated Holistic Approach Urban Development Program (IHA/UDP), operating in one of the poorest areas, near Teklehaimanot parish in Addis Ababa. The project area had over 42,000 inhabitants of whom 50% are children under 16 years of age.

The IHA Clinic from outside: AEHHPS members Dr Wubshet, Dr Getachew (IHA Director) & Sr Birkenesh

The right wing of the IHA clinic

In mid 1994, considering the communities need for an improved primary health AEHHPS was committed to assist and/or take part in the primary health care program. AEHHPS project proposal to the Swedish International Development Assistance (Sida) through Forum/Syd for a financial assistance was approved and the association started assisting the health station both financially and materially and gradually upgraded the small health post that existed in the IHA/UDP project area, into a health station.

Today the health station, locally known us IHA clinic, is operated by a staff of 14, including a full time licensed physician, a nurse, a pharmacist, 3 community health agents, 4 sanitary guards and 4 traditional birth attendants, to whom AEHHPS/Forum/Syd have been paying their full monthly salary and also covering the running costs of the health station. Moreover, AEHHPS members make an occasional visit to the project site and provide professional assistance in the IHA clinic. On the top of periodic visits by the members, AEHHPS have been closely monitoring the primary health activity at IHA/UDP during these years. 


HIV/AIDS Prevention Activities

AIDS is a global emergency and Africa suffers the worst insult in comparison to the rest of the world. One of the hardly hit African nations is Ethiopia. There are over 3.5 million Ethiopians infected with HIV and over 1 million orphans due to HIV/AIDS. Every hour there are about 75 Ethiopians infected by HIV and most will die in the next 10 years.

An AIDS patient

Patients waiting for their turn at IHA clinic

Poverty as well as lack of adequate information on the epidemic and means of transmission and prevention contributed a great deal to the quick spread of HIV in Ethiopia. AEHHPS started its campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention in Ethiopia on January 2000 using the well-established IHA-Clinic as a base. Currently, AEHHPS and CBISDO (previously called IHA/UDP) are working on HIV/AIDS prevention program in order to curb the spread of the epidemic in the project area, (Wereda 3 kebele 30,41,41,42) and neighboring communities (Wereda 4 kebele 29 & 40). Special attention is given to the so-called "window of hope", children of 5 -15 years of age and education on HIV/AIDS is given in schools for these children living in these deprived communities.

Objectives of the HIV/AIDS project

  • to give information on STDs, and in particular HIV/AIDS, to the targeted group,
  • to implement a rehabilitative program i.e. to accommodate the orphans of AIDS to other families within the community,
  • to give counseling to community members and their families living with HIV,
  • to give treatment and care to patients affected by STD and AIDS-related diseases, (Approximately 50% of the cases who visit the IHA-clinic are patients with AIDS-related diseases)

These initiatives are expected to result in enhancing the knowledge on the danger of the HIV/AIDS and alter the spread of the epidemic. Furthermore, we hope to overcome the traditional taboo associated to HIV/AIDS in order to create openness, which could lead to free discussions and awareness that consequently contribute to hamper the spread of HIV. Today an additional staff (a councilor) is employed at the project area and is coordinating the educational campaign among the target group.

Today, education on HIV/AIDS and counseling to community members is given at different levels and through different means:

  1. The IHA-clinic identifies those who are at risk and gives education and counseling, on individual level, at the Clinic and through home visits. Due to fund constrains and luck of laboratory settings the project is still unable to perform HIV tests on site. However, the health center is:
  2. giving education on the use of condoms at the Clinic and youth recreational centers and is distributing condoms free of charge to individuals
  3. giving the necessary treatment to the patients who are affected by AIDS-related diseases, as a result:

    • counseling to 500 people with STD, HIV/AIDS and different opportunistic diseases
    • 329 family victims were visited by counselor nurses,
    • 413 TB patients has been under treatment and follow-up through home visits in the year 2000,
    • the rehabilitative program i.e. to accommodate the orphans of AIDS to other families within the community is going on.

Education on STD and HIV/AIDS is given to the different community members by using the already existing community structures. Kindergartens, schools and youth recreational centers are used to reach as many children and adolescents as possible, and the youth are assisted to create Anti-AIDS club and encouraged to do their own anti-AIDS campaign.

Information to adults and parents is given at community meetings "Edir".

Children in the project area often informed about HIV/AIDS.

Information to adults and parents is given at community meetings like "Edir", women's association meetings, and parent meetings at schools and information materials, drama, song and poetry as well as "testimony" from individuals living with HIV is used to initiate discussion around the problem of HIV/AIDS within the community. "International AIDS day" is one of the days that are utilized to the maximum by the health center. It is always well-organized informative day and attracts the participation of community leaders and politicians, adult and children, and even the mass media.

Assisting on National HIV/AIDS Program Development in Ethiopia
Besides supporting projects in Ethiopia AEHHPS members are also involved/contribute to the HIV/AIDS prevention program developments. Recently (mid 2006) an AEHHPS staff member (Dr Wubshet Mamo) performed a feasibility study on HIV/AIDS prevention and women health in Ethiopia by the assignment of Sida. The study was successfully performed and recommendations for launching a national HIV/AIDS prevention program in Ethiopia have been accepted by Sida.