ESOG Shares Insights on Abortion Care in Ethiopia



In a panel discussion held on Monday, November 6th, the Ethiopian Society Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) shared its invaluable experience in advancing safe abortion access and policy reform in Ethiopia. The event, which took place at the Best Western Plus Addis Ababa Hotel, brought together key stakeholders, medical professionals, and activists to discuss strategies for enhancing safe abortion services and overcoming challenges in a region where access to safe abortion remains a pressing issue.

The panel discussion, titled "Pioneering the Pathway to Access: Sharing strategies to inform MSI's Future Abortion Programming from Ethiopia," addressed three critical topics:

Dr. Abebe Shibru, Country Director for Marie Stopes International Ethiopia (MSIE), commended Ethiopia's progress in abortion policy and guidelines, emphasizing that the nation serves as a beacon in the region. He highlighted three key approaches that played a pivotal role in achieving abortion reform. Additionally, Dr. Dr. Leilena Shimeles another panelist, discussed the collaborative efforts that formed the national movement for reform and the challenges and compromises required for success.

Alemayehu Hunduma, head of RH, FP, Adolescent and Youth Health Desk at the Ministry of Health highlighted Ethiopia's unique commitment to scaling safe abortion access, including recent initiatives for task-sharing and demedicalization. Overcoming resistance to this approach was a significant focus of the discussion.

Eyob Mohammed, ESOG’s Project Coordinator for Changing the Narrative around Safe abortion in Ethiopia Project, discussed ESOG's role in the 2005 reform of the Penal Code on abortion and shared insights into further increasing access to safe abortion services.  Coordinated by Eyob, the project being implemented by ESOG with a support from MSI aims at building supporting environment, institutionalizing and evidence generation.

Dr. Demeke Desta, Country Director, Ipas Ethiopia, voiced concerns about the growing opposition to safe abortion in Ethiopia, which poses a risk to the progress made thus far. The discussion delved into the experiences of this opposition in communities and among health care providers. Ato Abebe Kebede, Executive Director for the Consortium of Reproductive Health Associations (COHRA), addressed the critical role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in safeguarding Ethiopia's present safe abortion law. He shared information about the work being done to create new narratives around safe abortion to reach the silent majority.

The format of the panel was discussion and Q & A, skillfully facilitated by MSI-Kenya’s Country Director, Dr. Joan Oracha. The insights and strategies shared during the panel will undoubtedly provide valuable guidance for MSI's future abortion programming in Ethiopia and may serve as a source of inspiration for countries facing similar challenges.

Ethiopia's commitment to safe abortion access and the invaluable contributions of organizations like MSIE, ESOG, and COHRA reflect the country's dedication to the cause. By sharing their experiences and strategies, these experts hope to pave the way for safer and more accessible abortion services, setting an example for the region and the world.

As the discussion concluded, the participants remained hopeful about the future of safe abortion access in Ethiopia and inspired to continue their collaborative efforts to protect women's reproductive rights.

ESOG Conducted SCTG Ethiopia Planning workshop


Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) is conducting a Self-Care Trailblazer Group (SCTG) Ethiopia Planning workshop at Best Western Plus Addis Ababa Hotel. The half-day session that started on November 1, 2023 will end with another half-day session on November 2, 2023.

The objective of the two days session is sharing the state of self-care in Ethiopia and the vision for 2024 and beyond.  Participating in the two days event are National Self-Care Network (NSN) partners and the Ministry of Health.

The two days event took place as part of a project entitled- Support for the scale-up of self-care policy and practice in the national health system by national and sub-national advocacy planning and implementation.,

The participating organizations at the SCTG Ethiopia Planning Workshop are making significant progress in advancing self-care in the country. They are working on a variety of initiatives, including developing and implementing guidelines, providing training to providers, and raising awareness of self-care among the public.

Most partners have has provided administrative support to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in developing a national self-care guideline and has piloted self-care with the MoH. PSI has also piloted self-care in Ethiopia with the MoH and has provided capacity building training sessions to providers

The MoH is committed to moving forward with self-care and has been gathering data from learning sites.. ESOG Communications has made self-care a subject of media content on all of the Society's platforms, including radio shows, digital media platforms, and newspaper columns.

Overall, the progress of the participating organizations at the SCTG Ethiopia Planning Workshop in advancing self-care in the country is encouraging. While there are still some challenges to be overcome, the organizations are committed to working together to make self-care a reality for all Ethiopians.

The main objective of the project is to establish and support NSN, which will coordinate self-care advocacy at the national and subnational level to transform healthcare systems to ultimately achieve autonomy, power, and control of health care in the hands of individuals.

By implementing the project ESOG hopes to increase service coverage and access, reduce health disparities and inequity, increase quality of services, improve health and social outcomes, and reduce cost and efficient use of healthcare resources and services.

The project oversaw the establishment of National Self Care Network, which is expected to lead a consultative process to define a coordinated advocacy strategy for self-care. Members of the Network are expected to include representatives of multilateral and bilateral organizations, private foundations, government, civil society, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, research and academic institutions, and the private sector.

Leadership Training Underway

The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) is conducting Tailored Leadership Training at Addis Continental Institute of Public Health. The training, which is conducted on October 30-31, 2023, is attended by ESOG leaders, young female Ob-Gyns and relevant officials from the Ministry of Health.

The training, which is provided under the project entitled- FIGO Leadership Development Initiative: Improving Maternal and Newborn Health Outcomes through Advocacy and Improved Care.

The extension of the same training will be provided to other health care professionals participating in the project beginning November 1, 2023. The second phase of the training will be undertaken through November 4, 2023.

An initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will support national obstetric and gynecologic societies in six countries to become the leading voice for women's health in their respective nations. The initiative will focus on leadership development, gender diversity, engagement with healthcare experts, public education, and facility adjustments to improve birth outcomes and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. Each national society has chosen four focus sites, representing urban, rural, public, and private systems.