Successes in the Malga District, Ethiopia

More mothers and babies are surviving and thriving in Ethiopia.

Women’s health groups, set up by Women and Children First, our partner Family Guidance Association Ethiopia (FGAE) and funded by Comic Relief and our supporters, have vastly raised awareness of health risks, improved people’s wellbeing, and helped communities find ways to overcome their problems.


The women’s health group comes together to discuss ways of overcoming maternal and newborn health problems

The women’s health group comes together to discuss ways of overcoming maternal and newborn health problems

The Problems and The Solutions

In Ethiopia, 1 in 283 births end in a woman dying from preventable and treatable diseases. That’s a rate over 36 times higher than the UK.

To save lives and improve health, 174 women’s groups were created. These groups identify the most pressing health problems and find answers to overcome them. Over 12,300 women and men joined them.

Additionally, over 450 health workers received important training, an ambulance was provided, along with solar power and wells, to vastly improve local health services.


Women’s Stories

Together women and the communities, empowered by the groups, addressed major health problems. This included diarrhoea, haemorrhage during childbirth and malnutrition.

Birkinesh holds her baby whilst recounting the difficulties she had in labour. By building a road, it takes now just 15 minutes to get to hospital

Birkinesh holds her baby whilst recounting the difficulties she had in labour. By building a road, it takes now just 15 minutes to get to hospital

Birkinesh’s Story: Fixing Roads to Get Women to Hospital

In the Malga District, roads from remote villages to health facilities are often hard to use. Many women have to give birth at home, without a skilled attendant, putting their lives at risk

Birkinesh explains: “When I had my first child, I didn’t have anyone to support me during my labour. There wasn’t any transport to get me there, it would’ve been over 2 hours walk.”

The community worked together to stop that happening again.

Women and Children First Trustee John Davis visited the Malga District to see some of the women’s health groups meet.

See the group in action. John talks about how “awe-inspiring” it is to see the groups come together to find answers to overcome their health problems.

John also talks about the sustainability of the groups. It is expected that over 80% of the women’s health groups will be self-sustainable, continuing to meet together after Women and Children First finish their work in the District.


Results and Key Achievements

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Increasing knowledge of women’s health

More women know the risks they face before childbirth. 97% of women know at least 2 danger signs that could occur during pregnancy - up from 49% in 2015.

More women are knowledgeable about their health during and after pregnancy too. 95% of women know 2 or more risks after birth - up from 55%.



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