Much of the South Omo population is made up of nomadic pastoralists who depend upon livestock as their main source of livelihood. In this project, AMREF is working with the Ethiopian government to bring health care closer to South Omo’s pastoralist populations, adapting interventions to suit their migratory lifestyle. The project particularly targets women and children, aiming to reduce the incidence of illness and death from preventable and treatable causes such as unsafe abortion and obstructed labour (in the case of women), and diarrhoea and measles (in the case of children).
The main aims of the programme are to
- Implement effective integrated HIV/AIDS malaria and TB and reproductive health programme.
- Increase capacity of health facilities to provide basic and emergency reproductive health services.
- Build capacity of local government and community structures to strengthen the health system and manage the health needs of pastoralist communities.
We are achieving these aims by working at community and health facility level, and also working closely with local government to support them in coordinating key health interventions.
The project has been seeing some fantastic results including:
- Six health posts have been constructed and are being run by trained Health Extension Workers who are working hard to provide key health services. Each health post serves around 5,000 people. These health posts have now been handed over to local government who are now managing them, to ensure their long term sustainability.
- 25 Health Extension Workers have been trained and provided with participatory educational materials on topics such as TB, family planning and nutrition, which they are now using to spread key messages among households.
- 30 youth clubs have been established with 270 members. These groups spread key messages on HIV/AIDS prevention among their communities.
- Conducting clinical outreach services – mobile health clinics which take basic health services into communities, such as immunisations for children, and antenatal care for women.