Despite the decreasing trend, maternal and infant death rates are still high in many parts of Ethiopia. One of the contributing factors is the low level of skilled attendance at delivery and poor antenatal care service utilisation.
Ethiopia is at a pivotal moment in its efforts to improve the health status of its people and address health inequities. As the country has achieved many of the health-related Millennium Development Goals, the government realises that these advances need to be accelerated if targets in the areas of maternal and child mortality and infectious diseases are to be achieved as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs
). eHealth is one potential avenue to keep this progress going.
With the intention to scale up the existing positive impacts of Mobile Health solution in improving maternal and child health services unitization in Ethiopia, Amref Health Africa in partnership with SPIDER
(a Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions), therefore, launches a new project called Mobile Health for Improved Maternal and Child Health Services Utilisation. This initiative is taking an innovative approach to address pregnancy related health problems in rural villages of Ethiopia.
With a budget worth 1000,000 SEK granted by SPIDER, this mHealth project assists frontline health workers to follow up pregnant women and provide antenatal care, delivery, postnatal and immunization services that are potentially life-saving. It also strengthens the referral system between the health posts and bigger health facilities.
The project, which is well aligned with the national framework for mHealth and Ethiopia’s five-year (2016 - 2020) health sector transformation plan, targets localities where utilisation of maternal and children health services is alarmingly low. It will be implemented in 10 districts of North Shewa Zone, Amhara regional state for a period of two years, from 2017 to 2019, covering 50 health posts.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can make a significant contribution to addressing health challenges in Africa. E-health strategies are also crucial in achieving universal health coverage. To this effect, SPIDER supports organisations in developing countries to strengthen their capacities in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT) and effectively address their health needs.
Since 2015 Amref Health Africa has been implementing m-Health to help improve sexual and reproductive health and increase maternal and child health service utilisation in several localities of Amhara regional state.
About Amref Health Africa
Founded in 1957 in Nairobi, Kenya, Amref Health Africa is the largest African-led non-government organization on the continent. With a vision ‘Lasting Health Change in Africa’, Amref Health Africa works to ensure every African can enjoy the right to health services by helping create vibrant networks of informed communities that work with empowered health care providers in strong health systems. It is based in seven African countries and supported by 12 program and business development offices in Europe and North America. Our strategies focus on community health systems strengthening, capacity building, advocacy and research.
Amref Health Africa has been active in Ethiopia since the 1960s and became fully operational and registered as an international NGO in 2002. Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia delivers programs on: maternal health, child health, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), communicable diseases, clinical outreach services, emergency nutrition, health extension workers and midwives training and operational research.
SPIDER is a centre dedicated to ICT for Development. SPIDER’s work includes supporting projects, research and capacity building in three thematic areas: ICT for health, education, and transparency and accountability.
SPIDER uses ICT as a means to achieve the SDGs that were established by the UN in 2015. SPIDER brings together actors from Civil Society Organisations, Universities, Private Companies and Governmental Agencies to create synergies and broaden the use of ICT for social change.