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Dr. Ruth Jackson received a 2012 AusAID Development Research Award Scheme (ADRA) grant for a project on Improving the utilisation of maternal, neonatal and child health services in rural and pastoralist Ethiopia. She now writes to us from Ethiopia, where she is set to meet with people from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, UN agencies and NGO partners to discuss progress on Ethiopia's Health Sector Development Program (HSDP).
HSDP IV aims to provide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) at health centres and hospitals and support for birthing women at the community ('kebele') level through Health Extension Workers (HEWs). HEWs have been trained to provide clean and safe birthing services and to help with birth preparedness at home. HEWs should be able to recognize complications and make decisions to refer birthing women to emergency care if required.
"This ADRA project aims to run three workshops in different locations in rural and pastoralist Ethiopia. We will teach HEWs basic interview techniques. HEWs will then interview people in their community about ways to increase the number of women who use maternal, neonatal and child health services."
Ruth aims to run the first workshop in November, and says in preparation she will need to find a research location, meet regional and local government officials and seek ethics clearance from the Regional Health Bureau.
She will also be lucky enough to be there for the Ethiopian New Year or 'Enkutatash' (gift of jewels) on September 11:
"Ethiopian New Year marks the beginning of the month of 'Meskerem', a season when the heavy rains stop and the sun comes out. Daisies blossom into bright yellow and it is a time of rebirth and renewal. The months aren’t the only difference in Ethiopia. The New Year (based on the older Alexandrian or Coptic calendar) will be 2006!"
'Melkum Addis Amet!' (Happy New Year)
Find out more about ADRI's International Development projects.