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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

Unobstructed motherhood: women delivering safely in Sidama, Ethiopia


Oval-shaped huts scattered amid lush trees and expansive green meadows are typical of villages in the Sidama zone, where Médecins Sans Frontières runs a maternal health project in the Chire and Mejo divisions.

Category: Field news

Ethiopia: Tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees receive cholera vaccine


A vaccine against cholera is being used on a large scale for the first time in Ethiopia by teams from Médecins Sans Frontières. The mass immunisation campaign will protect South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, as...

Category: Press releases

Ethiopia: Stopping Cholera in its Tracks


Over 140,000 people have arrived in the Gambella region of Ethiopia as they fled from the war in South Sudan.The rainy season and poor hygiene conditions contribute to the spread of infectious diseases in camps.

Category: Video gallery

Critical conditions for South Sudanese refugees in Gambella


South Sudanese refugees continue to arrive in Gambella, Ethiopia, fleeing their homes because of the violence, and walking for days seeking safe shelter and food. But the conditions in the Gambella camps are far from ideal, with...

Category: Field news

South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia: An emergency situation requiring a special response


Médecins Sans Frontières has been providing medical aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia since January. Antoine Foucher, Médecins Sans Frontières’ head of mission in Ethiopia, describes the urgency of the refugees’...

Category: Field news
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