Ethiopia is one of the twenty countries with the highest number of neonatal deaths globally; with 67 per 1000 live births in 2016. In addition, maternal mortality rates are classified as high with 412 [range 551-273] maternal deaths per 100.000 live births. Proper health care during pregnancy, delivery and the newborn period are important for the health of the mother and newborn. This is dependent on the quality of care, the qualifications of healthcare providers and the knowledge and attitudes of community members. Limited knowledge among pregnant women is a major barrier towards the uptake of healthcare services in Ethiopia. In addition, delivery assisted by skilled providers is the most important proven intervention in reducing maternal mortality. However, only 26 percent of live births were delivered assisted by a skilled provider and for the mothers without education this is only 16 percent. The proportion of births delivered in a health facility show large differences between rural and urban areas, with 15 percent in Afar to 97 percent in Addis Ababa.
After a very successful first phase of the Health[e]Families project in Ethiopia that started in 2015, the project is now extended until the end of 2019. The aim of the Health[e]Families project is to improve knowledge on maternal and newborn health for healthcare professionals and community members in Ethiopia. The project targets midwives, medical professionals and the community, and aims to deliver continuous professional education to healthcare workers. To implement the training program and build capacity, Health[e]Foundation collaborates with the Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) and the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Health[e]Families project exists of two components: blended learning of the Female&Family[e]Education course and the mhealth service ‘LUCY’ for pregnant women and mothers of newborns. Both components of the Health[e]Families project are interwoven and interrelated.
In the first phase, in total 400 midwives and 400 medical doctors (gynecologists, obstetricians and general practitioners) were trained and enrolled almost two thousand women into LUCY mobile service. During the second phase of this project, it is the aim to train another 600 midwives with the Female and Family[e]Education course, and enroll 6000 women for LUCY.
The Health[e]Families project is funded by the Dioraphte Foundation.