Ethiopia has made remarkable strides in improving its population’s health, reaching important milestones in maternal, newborn, and child mortality levels. But there is still much work to be done.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ Communication for Health project is working to harness the power of health communication to save lives and transform the public health system in Ethiopia. The project focuses on six health areas: reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; malaria; tuberculosis; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition; and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
CCP is working with the Ethiopian government and community leaders to strengthen the ability of Ethiopians themselves to produce quality, data-driven programs to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors. Through workshops and training sessions, Communication for Health is empowering the next leaders in the field, while ensuring that existing programs are coordinated and creating sustainable behavior change.
The project also produces and broadcasts a weekly radio program in four of Ethiopia’s most rural areas, providing a trusted and credible source of health expertise on a variety of subjects. The program, which involves both a serial drama and a platform for answering health questions, provides listeners with the necessary information and encouragement to adopt healthier behaviors. A mobile app, currently in development, will provide another platform for these messages, as well as a way for listeners to interact with the radio program.
Since the program began in 2015, Communication for Health has:
- Created videos for pregnant women staying away from home in maternity waiting rooms at health facilities while they await the birth of a child. Videos contain health information useful for new moms and an opportunity to discuss lessons with a trained health worker.
- Together with Addis Ababa University and Jimma University, Communication for Health established a social and behavior change (SBCC) consortium with over 15 schools of public health, behavioral science and health education departments across Ethiopia. The project designed, printed and distributed SBCC materials to commemorate World AIDS Day with materials focused on prevention of mother-to-child transmission targeting male partners.
- Built in-house studio to create radio programs, part reality-based, part dramatic serial, to encourage healthy behaviors. Creating listening groups where radios and/or flash drives are provided to enable more people to hear programs and discuss what they have heard.