Government of Canada-supported COVID-19 Response Helps Improve Essential Maternal and Child Health Services at Community Level Health Facilities in Ethiopia

by Amref Health Africa

Han Health Centre is located in Bahir Dar, Amhara regional state in Ethiopia. The centre provides a variety of health care services for a population of more than 75,000. Despite having so many people to provide services to, the health workers do their best to help the communities with the limited resources they have in the facility.  

Getachew (Father’s name), Medical Director of Han Health Centre, is busy managing the nitty gritty of everyday services that the centre provides. He speaks of the challenges that the centre and the health workers encounter every day. “Major problem we faced was lack of access to water. We didn’t have any source of water in our facility. We had to purchase water every ten days from those who could provide it with trucks.  We pay 1000 ETB ($32 CAD) for 5,000 litres, which is not enough and not affordable. We would use plastic container buckets to distribute water to every room, which was very time consuming. We couldn’t help compromising the quality of our services. The sanitation and hygiene of our laboratory and delivery rooms, including our minor operation room, suffered a lot due to lack of clean water. How can one imagine providing maternal and child health services in a health centre where water access is not handy?”

With financial support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, Amref Health Africa connected a water line from the main town source and extended it 350 metres to the health centre for all rooms to get access to clean water. “We have now running water in all our rooms. The labour and delivery rooms where water is particularly critical for are now accessing clean water. This highly contributes to improving the quality of maternal and child health services we provide. As we work towards preventing COVID-19 by improving hygiene and sanitation, we also ensure the quality of maternal and child health services in the centre,” said Getachew.

The COVID-19 response project has also equipped Han Health Centre with medical masks, hand sanitizer, medical waste disposal bins, eye googles and hand washing soaps. “Amref Health Africa’s COVID-19 response support is very timely and greatly needed. Our facility has received several PPE that can serve for more than nine months. This support builds our ability to fight the spread of the virus by helping us prevent any harm caused by the infection to our health workers as well as our patients, mothers and children in particular. We would like to thank Amref Health Africa and its partner Global Affairs Canada for this praiseworthy support,” Getachew says.

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