Category: "Health"

No shortage of condom in Ethiopia says HIV/AIDS Prevention Office

March 30th, 2011

No shortage of condom in Ethiopia says HIV/AIDS Prevention Office

Source: WIC

The HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) in Ethiopia played down speculations about shortages of condoms supply in Ethiopia. During a press conference held at its head office inside Dembel City Center, Alemu Anno, Director of Multi-Sectoral Response Coordination Directorate at HAPCO, assured the public that there is enough supply of condoms to meet the required demand.

A wide spread rumor surfaced about shortage of condoms in the country during the past week which pressed the federal office, along with two of its main supply partners - Dkt Ethiopia and PSI Ethiopia - to call local reporters and clarify the matter.

“We have been increasing the supply in light of the increasing demand,” Fasil Gutema, national sales coordinator at DKT Ethiopia, said.

Dkt Ethiopia alone supplied 77 million condoms in 2009 and 85 million condoms in 2010, according Fasil.

“The supply is projected to reach over 90 million condoms during the 2011 budget year,” Fasil said on the occasion. He said that 53 million HIWOT Thrust condoms and 38 million Sensation condoms are currently being imported into the country, which will be distributed through the over 30,000 outlets.

The office is also working to set up kiosks across the city which will provide 24 hour supply service counter the distribution problem, according to Alemu.

“Talking about increased demand to use condoms is encouraging,” Alemu said on the occasion, “we, along with our partners, are working to meet these demands”.

The national HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Council and its Secretariat were established in April 2000.

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Inaugurates Armed Forces Referral Teaching Hospital HIV/AIDS Center

March 16th, 2011

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Inaugurates Armed Forces Referral Teaching Hospital HIV/AIDS Center

March 14, 2011 (Addis Ababa)
– United States and Ethiopian officials today inaugurated a newly renovated HIV Center at the Armed Forces Referral Teaching Hospital, which will ensure better quality HIV services for Ethiopian military personnel, their families, and civilians.

With funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working in partnership with the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the U.S. Government contributed 890,000 USD to the newly renovated facility which is furnished with modern medical equipment.

The United States’ Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby inaugurated the facility along with State Minister of Defense Ato Birhanu Abera in the presence of other high ranking military and Government of Ethiopia officials, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth, representatives from the U.S. government and PEPFAR partners.

Speaking during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Ambassador Eric Goosby stated, “This newly renovated HIV chronic care clinic is an example of the partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of Ethiopia. It exemplifies one of the many ways that PEPFAR works with defense forces of partner nations to expand access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to uniformed personnel and their families in need.”

The newly renovated HIV Center was originally built in 1964. This single story facility provides HIV counseling and testing; comprehensive HIV prevention, care and antiretroviral treatment (ART) services; and testing and treatment for tuberculosis. It also includes a substantial pharmacy, two waiting areas, and a multi-purpose hall for training sessions and meetings.

The Armed Forces Referral Teaching Hospital is one of the 35 uniformed health facilities that provide ART and comprehensive services supported under the PEPFAR program to address the multi-faceted problems of HIV/AIDS in the uniformed services.

Hospital births still unpopular in Ethiopia

March 9th, 2011
Photo: Sofia Teixeira/PlusNews
Even in urban areas where health facilities abound, many women still prefer to give birth at home

Ethiopia: Hospital births still unpopular

ADDIS ABABA, 9 March 2011 (PlusNews
) - Ethiopia is boosting its health worker numbers, building thousands of health centres and working with donors to prioritize the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). Even so, most women still prefer to have their babies at home.

"During the 2009-2010 Ethiopian fiscal year, only 6,990 pregnant women received [the full range of] PMTCT services - around 8 percent of the estimated HIV-positive pregnant women. It is very alarming and a serious problem," Assefa Ayde, senior public relations officer in Ethiopia's Health Ministry, told IRIN/PlusNews.

An estimated 2.4 percent of pregnant women in Ethiopia are thought to be HIV-positive - rising to 3.5 percent in the 15-24 age group. The national average is just over 2 percent. About 20 percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers annually are also infected with HIV, according to government statistics.

Hawi Debele, 29, lives in the capital, Addis Ababa, where state and private heath facilities abound. However, she has delivered both her children at home.

"My mom gave birth to me and my two brothers at home. All the people in my village give birth at home assisted by some people who have done it for decades," she told IRIN/PlusNews. "Though now I live in Addis, both my husband and I were in agreement when I went to my mum to have my kids. It is easier that way so that my mum can take care of me after I have a baby."

Some indicators are looking up - the number of Ethiopian women who visit antenatal clinics has grown from 616,763 in 2008-2009 to 796,099 in 2009-2010, while the number of mothers who received HIV testing as part of PMTCT services has also grown to over 70 percent. However, just 6 percent of births are attended by a skilled health worker, according to the UN World Health Organization.

"A considerable number of them don't come to give birth here unless they have complications from earlier deliveries like Caesarean sections or face complications giving birth at home," said Martha Kebede, family health officer at a clinic in the capital. "Breaking this culture and educating about the benefits of institutional delivery could be the major task."

Health system problems

According to Martha, the poor quality of care at health centres also keeps women away.

"We often run out of beds - I remember once we pushed two couches together because all the beds were occupied and we couldn't send the woman [to another health centre] because she had begun labour," she added. "You can easily imagine that mother or others who hear her story not coming to government institutions to give birth."

She noted that small health centres such as hers had to send babies' dry blood samples to regional laboratories for polymerase chain reaction HIV tests and often did not get the results back for weeks, frustrating mothers and reducing the likelihood that their children, if diagnosed with HIV, would receive the treatment they needed.

So far, the government has built more than 2,600 centres out of a planned 3,000 - over 1,300 of which offer PMTCT - but still, women continue to give birth at home. In addition, the government has trained more than 30,000 “health extension workers” to provide healthcare at community level.

"We have deployed two female heath extension workers in every kebele [village] who go from home to home and can assist in delivery," said Assefa. "They can refer women to health posts [in each kebele] and if necessary [to larger] health centres.

"All women are exempted from payments related to delivery across the country and... no matter where you live in Ethiopia today, there is a health facility at least within a radius of 10km," he added. "While there is more to do, the problem now is to bring the women to the health centres; this remains a big challenge."

Large donors are also prioritizing PMTCT. Carmela Green-Abate, Ethiopia coordinator for the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), says: "This [PMTCT] has been a focus programme, so even though PEPFAR had a budget cut [of 5 percent] this year, we still increased our funds to supporting PMTCT.”

Addressing stigma

Photo: AMREF
More pregnant women are being tested for HIV, but just 8 percent receive the full range of PMTCT services

According to Martha, beyond institutional improvements, it is important to educate the community about HIV and reduce levels of stigma. "The lack of male participation is another reason why most pregnant women who access ANC [antenatal care] are lost when tested positive for HIV," she said. "We track down very few of them as the resources and the system are not there to do so; their main concern is fear that their husbands would kick them out of the house if they found out about their HIV status."

The government has launched a nationwide publicity campaign, backed by a number of Ethiopian celebrities, to bring home the importance of health facility delivery. Tsedina Gebremarkos, a popular local singer and Kora Award winner, has teamed up with another local singer, Mekia Behailu, to release a single showing how women suffer while trying to give birth at home.

"It takes professionals to put together good music, and it also needs professionals to have a mother give birth safely," Tsedina says in a TV message. "Deliver at health facilities and let the mother be safe and the child healthy."

Seattle volunteers to bring lifesaving equipment to Ethiopian hospital

January 23rd, 2011

Seattle volunteers to bring lifesaving equipment to Ethiopian hospital

More than two dozen volunteers — doctors, nurses, technicians and more — from the nonprofit group Seattle Anesthesia Outreach (SAO) will travel to Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia this month to install anesthesia machines, monitoring devices and dozens of other pieces of equipment they hope will save lives and improve patient care, especially during and after surgery.

Read More from Seattle Times

Ethiopian girl receives surgery for cancer in eye - Video

January 6th, 2011

Ethiopian girl receives surgery for cancer in eye

-- On Thursday, a young Ethiopian girl will undergo life-saving surgery at UCSF's Children's Hospital. The girl has made an incredible journey to get to the United States and she had help from a San Ramon couple who pushed to make it possible.

It's been a long journey from Ethiopia and 13-year-old Blain Henok is anxious to undergo life saving surgery on a cancerous melanoma on her eye.

"You can see all of this has grown over to the other side of the eye and it's starting to hit on the cornea there, right on the edge of the cornea," says Dr. John Turns.

Read More ...