Where we work

1 Jul 2014

Ethiopia has a maternal mortality rate of 470:100,000 live births. The need for a clean birth and midwifery education is obviously high.

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) funded the BKFA to develop and manage the assembly and distribution of 30,000 clean birthing kits in three regions in Ethiopia: Shire, Tigray Region; Logyia, Afar Region; and Addis Ababa. This project created employment opportunities for vulnerable and marginalised women and provide refresher training for Traditional Birth Attendants in Afar Region.

Abraham’s Oasis, Afar Pastoralist Development Association and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia employed women to make the kits. All three NGOs have been working with BKFA over the past 4-7 years. This program was seen as an entry point to promote community dialogue and education about issues such as early marriage, growth stunting of the female child, gender based violence, female circumcision, obstructed labour and other problems that may lead to obstetric fistula and other obstetrical problems. The NGOs also report that more and more pregnant women are attending antenatal care, seeking referral for delivery if there is a problem and completing the immunisation of their children.

The BKFA chose Ethiopia as a country to target for project expansion and monitoring.


An Afar girl who will one day use a birthing kit

2013 saw the completion of the kit production program for 30,000 kits made in country from local resources.

Success!!! 3 organisations in Ethiopia are now make their own birthing kits, while providing an income for disadvantaged women.

Over 30,000 birthing kits were made locally in Ethiopia.

The program targets impoverished women who earn an income while assembling kits so as to become more independent.

A recent monitoring visit in November 2012 by two BKFA directors reinforced the success of this program that spreads across Ethiopia to the Afar, Tigray and central regions.

Thank you for making it possible for women in these regions to look after their own women and babies – sustainability is being achieved.


Mother and baby inside their home

In the Afar region Valerie Browning through the Afar Pastoralist Development Association organised for 10,000 kits to be made. Similarly local people were employed to make the kits. To accompany this there was also extra training of the Health Extension Workers with 73 from 36 kabelles attending a 1 day course – again funded by the BKFA.

The Foundation again thanks its supporters who have enabled us to initiate early sustainability through 3 partner organisations to large sections of Ethiopia.

We distribute our kits through Health Extension Worker and Traditional Birth Attendant training programs and to remote outposts through the following organisations.


Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA)

Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) has been implementing a primary health program in the Afar pastoral society for 12 years. Because some areas are only accessible by camel or foot, traditional birth attendants (TBAs) have been trained in clean and safe delivery as an essential component of their community development program.

APDA currently has 202 mobile primary health workers working in 10 woredas. These health workers are managed in teams under 14 health field administrators. The overall primary health program is managed by 3 nurses one of whom is also a midwife. Health workers perform health education mobilization, nutrition monitoring, undertake basic treatment, perform vaccination, work with traditional birth attendants (TBAs). APDA has trained and continues to link up with 450 TBAs. Finally, women extension workers, literate women from the community who are trained to mobilize the community in hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, mother/ child care, safe motherhood, HIV prevention, stopping harmful practices deliberately place pastoralist women as implementers of primary health in the community. The organization has 139 such women. These women have supervisors. All these staff are Afar and from the community they serve.

APDA’s overall strategy to reduce maternal and infant death is fundamental to the whole program, aiming to lessen the workload of females in daily household chores, stop harmful practices that predispose to poor health and well-being and aim at facilitating Afar pastoral women to be implementers of development change within the society. Increasing female education participation is underlying to all this. In particular activities that affect the health of child – baring women, health workers (health educator giving front-line treatment), women extension workers (facilitator of female and child awareness and behavior change), and traditional birth attendants work together with complementary roles, the prime – actor being the traditional birth attendant (TBA).

Realizing the absolute importance of giving these TBAs basic training, equipping them and linking them to the primary health program, APDA deliberately trains women who deliver the most number of mothers in the community aiming to train up to 5 TBAs per kebele, rather than selecting new women to train. The trained TBAs are then registered with APDA and get annual refresher training and are linked to health workers and women extension workers in their community.

Website: http://www.apdaethiopia.org/