Fighting Stigma against Providers

The above picture was randomly selected from Google by one of the participants at the Providers Share Workshop conducted in Adama from July 9 to 11, 2021. The picture was selected by the participant in response to an activity challenge posed by Dr. Tesfaye Hurisa, one of the trainers on the workshop. Dr. Tesfaye challenged the participants to google a random picture in a couple of minutes that they would think show best how they feel about safe abortion care.

Shown in the picture are individuals in a circle and one person falling out of the circle while another in the earlier group lending hand to bring him back into the group. The participant explained the picture as one that shows how safe abortion care providers go out of the traditional norm to provide the service, and how they should be given a supporting hand for the lives they are saving which would have been lost otherwise. Other pictures selected by participants to represent how they feel about the service they are providing were quite remarkable.

Traditional and religious values influencing the practice of safe abortion care are typical to most places in Ethiopia despite the relatively safer legal support the country provides to the service. Health care workers who provide the service are stigmatized both by the community they are serving and their colleagues.

“Whether we provide the service only impacts how safe the abortion is; it does not affect the prevalence of the practice in any way,” Dr. Ferid Abas, Dr. Tesfaye Hurisa, and Dr. Lemi Belay strongly argue during the workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to create a safe environment and platform for the health care providers to share experiences free of judgment and stigma they face in their daily engagements. The participants shared a lot indeed. The workshop also involved a roleplay wherein participants played an imaginary story of woman who seeks the service and a health care worker who refuses to provide the service and fails to provide the appropriate counseling service.

The workshop was organized by the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) under its project- Strengthening Capacity and Improving Quality of Reproductive Health (Family Planning (FP) and Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC)) and Reducing Stigma on Abortion Care Service Providers. The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of FP and CAC in the primary health care units to increase service uptake and support the Ministry of Health (MoH) in developing effective de-stigmatization strategies for safe abortion care among health care workers. To achieve this end, the project aims at institutionalizing FP and CAC and newborn health mentorship programs at primary hospitals and health centers through producing Emergency Surgical Officers (ESOs). Strengthening the quality improvement programs in FP, CAC, maternal and child health at primary hospitals and health centers, and reducing stigma and discrimination against abortion care providers are also the objectives of the project.

Funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and partnering with MoH, regional health bureaus, woreda health offices, hospitals, and health centers, the project will run until July 31, 2021.  

Treatment, Rehabilitation of GBV Survivors


The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) has conducted health response training to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Mekelle, Tigray Regional State from May 17-20, 2021. The training, which was provided under a new project launched in collaboration with the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT), was attended by 31 health care professionals: gynecologists, general practitioners, nurses, and social workers from Axum, Shire, Adigrat, Maychew, Mekelle General Hospital, and Ayder Hospital.

The project aims at establishing a one-stop center for the treatment of GBV survivors in five towns: Axum, Shire, Adwa, Adigrat, and Maychew. The project will be mobilizing resources necessary for a full and effective operation of the centers and building the capacity of health care professionals that provide health services to GBV survivors.

The project also has distributed Dignity Kits: bags full of clothes, sanitary tools, food items, and other necessities for GBV survivors. Non-health response training for non-health response professionals in law enforcement, the justice system, and other areas beyond the health sector, is also planned to be conducted in the near future.   

The project is funded by CIRHT and implemented in collaboration with the Tigray Regional Health Bureau. ESOG's experience in establishing six model clinics will be put to use towards the success of the project.

Infection Prevention and Patient Safety/ IPPS/ Training

Infection Prevention and Patient Safety (IPPS) training was provided at Walda Primary Hospital on January 10-15, 2021 and Mekit Primary hospital on May 4-9, 2021. The training was given to midwives, nurses, and catchment health center workers, a total of 60 participants had attended two-session training.  In developing countries like Ethiopia, healthcare-associated infections are recognized as a major burden for patients, society, and healthcare management. The potential for the transmission of infections in the health care setting is high. Statistics show that a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work. Both those receiving and providing care in the hospital are at risk of acquiring and transmitting infections through exposure to blood, body fluids, or contaminated materials. Healthcare workers may be exposed to the infection through the provision of care, invasive clinical procedures, the use of instruments and sharps expose healthcare workers to needle stick injuries and in turn to potentially infectious agents which can cause nosocomial infection or Healthcare Acquired Infection.

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