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Improving Maternal, Newborn & Child Health in South Omo and Segen, Ethiopia


Despite recent impressive progress in tackling poverty, Ethiopia remains one of the world’s poorest countries. With a population of over 90 million people, it is also the second most populous country in Africa. South Omo and Segen are two of the most remote and marginalised zones, and maternal and child mortality rates, incredibly high.

In Ethiopia, the lifetime risk of a woman dying from pregnancy and childbirth related complications is extremely high at 1 in 14, compared to 1 in 10,000 in developed countries. For women living in South Omo and Segen zones, this risk is greater still. In the highly remote South Omo and Segen zones, 80% of the predominantly farming communities live below the poverty line, and the need to move herds in search of fresh pasture means accessing quality health care is even more challenging. 
This is reflected by the area’s alarming health indicators. Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (MNCH) indicators for these zones lag behind those in the rest of the country and are an urgent priority for the District Health Offices. For instance, immunization coverage for children in these areas is approximately 30% below the national average.
With funding from the UK Department for International Development, Amref Health Africa has been implementing a project to improve maternal, reproductive and child health in South Omo and Segen since April 2013. The project is working to increase the awareness and use of health services, improve the skills of existing health workers at community and facility level and strengthen health systems so that they could deliver more effective services to women and children in the future.
It didn't take long for local communities to realise that Amref Health Africa was different to other organisation, after seeing first-hand our commitment and collaborative way of working.


Direct benefit

  • 157,033 women of reproductive age
  • 105,138 children under five
  • 23,589 children under one

Indirect benefit

  • The project indirectly benefits the wider community of 388,202 people in the rest of South Omo and Segen.
  • Motorbike ambulances are now operational in four health centres, providing transportation to women and children in remote areas.

The project has enabled over...

  • 500 health extension workers
  • 40 health officers
  • 50 midwives and nurses
  • Over 8,000 health development army members to receive training on improving their skills in the delivery of Maternal, Newborn & Child health services and information.