Ethiopia is one of Africa’s oldest independent nations, but severe droughts and resulting famines over several decades have had a devastating effect on Ethiopians and led to civil conflict and war with neighbouring Eritrea in the 1990s. Ethiopia remains among the world’s poorest countries with persistently high rates of child malnutrition. In 2011, the most severe drought in more than 60 years affected the Horn of Africa, driving up rates of malnutrition and creating even greater strain on Ethiopia’s fragile infrastructure as hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the famine in neighbouring Somali.
International Medical Corps operates nutrition programmes in three drought-affected areas of Ethiopia. We provide technical and logistical assistance to the Ministry of Health and build the capacity of health care staff to implement Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition programmes. In August 2011, we also launched an emergency nutrition programme targeting malnourished mothers and children in the Dolo Ado refugee camps along the border with Somalia.
In addition, International Medical Corps has been implementing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) programming in these refugee camps to provide psychosocial support and treatment for survivors of GBV.
With support from the United Nations Population Fund, our health programmes in Ethiopia focus on the maternal and reproductive health of communities in food insecure areas. International Medical Corps trains health care providers and traditional birth attendants on clean, safe delivery practices, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, GBV prevention, adolescent reproductive health services, and treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
This programme reaches a target population of approximately 64,000 people in the Oromiya Region. We also operate emergency feeding programs, which offer therapeutic nutrition at nearly 50 dedicated care centres and provide essential nutritional support to tens of thousands of households.
Responding to the 2011 Horn of Africa drought, International Medical Corps is supporting Somali refugees in the Dolo Ado camps in Ethiopia. We are currently providing both blanket and supplementary feeding programmes, which allows us to deliver targeted care for those who are malnourished, and also protect those who are at-risk by giving them basic food items. Our engineers are also building latrines and hand-washing stations, distributing soap and jerry cans, and educating communities on the importance of hygiene.
To improve reproductive health services in Ethiopia, International Medical Corps provides capacity building trainings to health extension workers, health care providers and traditional birth attendants. Our trainings cover clean, safe delivery practices; antenatal and postnatal care; family planning; treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; GBV prevention; and adolescent reproductive health services. We also provide reproductive health medical supplies and equipment to health facilities.