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Cordaid Funds Health and Counseling Center in Ethiopia

By Meg     About Cordaid

It has been reported by the World Bank that roughly one out of every 285 women in Ethiopia die during pregnancy or childbirth. Only 6% of women giving birth are accompanied by a skilled health worker (UNFPA). Throughout much of Ethiopia, especially in rural areas, women do not travel to health centers for delivery. Instead, most women give birth at home, without a doctor or healthcare worker present. Most women are not educated about reproductive healthcare and therefore do not understand the importance of having a doctor present. There is also an extreme shortage of qualified health workers.

Cordaid has provided funding to the Beza Youth Health and Counseling Center (BYHCC) in Yirgalem, Ethiopia, since its founding in 2001. By partnering with community-based organizations, BYHCC aims to create maternal health insurance systems, improve accessibility to family planning services, and to establish a Maternal Health Care Referral Network.

In an effort to educate women about reproductive healthcare, sexually transmitted diseases, and methods of contraception, the BYHCC has developed programming that they have spread throughout the country. By partnering with established local organizations and other local level initiatives such as coffee ceremony dialogue sessions, the BYHCC is able to reach more women and empower them with knowledge. They also seek to educate boys and men, as women in Ethiopia typically have less decision-making power. The BYHCC also works with local health colleges to provide service training to help build the capacity of healthcare workers.

As of 2012, Cordaid’s integrated program had trained 175 healthcare workers, allowed 2,500 women to receive reproductive healthcare, and increased capacity throughout eight local organizations. More impactful still is the knowledge and attitude change towards sexual and reproductive behaviors that, once internalized, will create healthier mothers and reduce maternal death rates.


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