Our work in Ethiopia has been centered on reaching women where they are. Reaching women in communities outside the city limits, hours and an uncomfortable car ride away from the nearest health center that houses the medicines and skilled professionals needed to save lives. These are the communities we serve.
Building upon the work of our parent organization Venture Strategies for Health and Development, collectively we have worked towards improving women’s health in Ethiopia by increasing access to misoprostol since 2007. We recognized then that life-saving misoprostol tablets presented a unique opportunity to impact the lives of women in a country where the overwhelming majority of mothers deliver at home - if only these tablets were put into the hands of those closest to women to help. And so we began our work to introduce misoprostol for the prevention and treatment of excessive bleeding after childbirth, or postpartum hemorrhage, the number one killer of mothers worldwide. After years of advocacy and demonstrating in the field that frontline health care providers could use misoprostol to save lives, in June 2010 we achieved government approval of misoprostol. This policy milestone allowed the medicine to be imported and distributed to prevent life-threatening bleeding, and was essentially the first step to reaching women throughout the country.
In the five years since the program began over half a million tablets were donated, 11,147 providers were trained, and 1,076 community members participated in peer group coffee ceremonies to discuss the importance of reproductive health services. Today, VSI continues our work in Ethiopia to ensure that all women have access to this simple medication that save lives. However as the year comes to a close, we too must close this project on Global Giving. Within our organization we need to pause, assess and engage our partners on-the-ground to adapt our program to meet the evolving needs of Ethiopia’s women. This time will allow us to plan programs strategically and ensure fundraising efforts match the need.
It’s likely you will see a new and improved Ethiopia project in 2013. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay connected to VSI's work through our website and the VSI Facebook and Twitter profiles. Thank you for your support and dedication to women in Ethiopia and around the world. It is because of advocates like you that our work is stronger and we can do more. On behalf of the women we serve “amesegenallo” and we hope that you will keep in touch!