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Despite significant economic progress in the country, medical care remains beyond reach for many Ethiopians, particularly in remote and conflict-affected areas.

Tens of thousands of refugees are also in need of health services. By the end of 2012, an estimated 170,000 Somali refugees had arrived in the southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia, escaping conflict and the effects of 2011’s severe drought. People fleeing violence in Sudan and South Sudan have entered Ethiopia from the west. Médecins Sans Frontières continued to provide medical assistance to refugees and communities around the camps, as well as to other people without access to health services, throughout the year.

Responding to a lack of access to healthcare in parts of Sidama, a zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Médecins Sans Frontières opened a programme in 2010 focused on the health of mothers and children under five years of age. Activities include ante- and postnatal consultations, a 24-hour emergency service, medical and psychological care for victims of violence, surgery and treatment for obstetric fistula and referrals.

A maternity waiting home was also opened to accommodate women with obstetric complications so that they have rapid access to skilled emergency care. More than 50,000 women and 34,000 children received care in the Sidama programme in 2012. The team is also training Ministry of Health staff.

Kala azar, or visceral leishmaniasis, is a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of a sandfly, which is almost always fatal if not treated. It receives very little attention from the medical community, however. In Abdurafi, Amhara region, Médecins Sans Frontières works with the Ministry of Health to treat patients with kala azar, including those co-infected with HIV. Médecins Sans Frontières pays particular attention to groups most vulnerable to these diseases, such as migrants and sex workers.

Médecins Sans Frontières first worked in Ethiopia in 1984

Médecins Sans Frontières races against time to provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia


For several weeks Médecins Sans Frontières teams have been providing assistance to South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia fleeing violence and persecution in their country.

Category: Field news

South Sudan: exodus to Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia


Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia are hosting over 107,000 refugees from South Sudan.

Category: Video gallery

Médecins Sans Frontières provides medical and humanitarian aid to South Sudanese refugees


Every day, more than 1,000 South Sudanese refugees are fleeing the fighting in their home country, crossing into Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, where emergency teams from Médecins Sans Frontières are providing medical and...

Category: Field news, Video gallery

Testing, training and building up a lab: a medical scientist in Ethiopia


Laicey Colum is a medical scientist from Australind, WA. She recently completed her first field placement with Médecins Sans Frontières, in Dolo Ado and Wardher in Ethiopia.

Category: Letters from the field

Yemen: Hundreds of Migrants Await Repatriation in Sana’a


Countless migrants, mainly Ethiopians, pass through the country on their way to Saudi Arabia; many become victims of torture at the hands of human traffickers.

Category: Field news
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