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The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ESOG) was established in 1992 in response to the Safe Motherhood Initiative as a collective professional expression of concern about the high maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity, and the poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) status in the country. The main aim was to enhance the contribution of obstetricians and gynecologists to improve access and quality of the SRH service in Ethiopia. Consequently, during the last 31 years, ESOG has undertaken a number of remarkable SRH activities by engaging its members, working hand in hand with the Federal Ministry of Health, and networking with other partners working in the area of SRH. The organization focuses on issues like safe motherhood, mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, post-partum hemorrhage, care for survivors of sexual assault, quality of SRH and family planning services, comprehensive abortion care, comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care services, and introducing national standards and guidelines in support of these areas. Many of the country’s sexual and reproductive health guidelines and protocols are developed and implementation pioneered by ESOG.
Self-care is not a new idea in health care. For millennia people have been taking measures to prevent disease, promote health and cope with illness and disability with and without a healthcare provider. While self-care will never replace the need for access to quality healthcare, self-care interventions are among the most promising and exciting new approaches to improve health and well-being both from a health systems perspective and for people who use these interventions.
Self-care interventions, particularly in the realm of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), have transformative potential to increase individuals’ autonomy in making decisions about their care, strengthen countries’ health systems, and ultimately pave the way toward universal health coverage (UHC).
There are some challenges to advancing self-care in Ethiopia. One example is the National Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, and Youth Health and Nutrition (RMNCAYH-N) Self-Care Intervention Guideline, which has been prepared by the Ministry of Health with partners but is delayed in approval. Because of this, there aren’t any standard training manuals for SRH self-care intervention or implementation.
In addition, there are challenges at the policy and community levels. The challenge at the policy level is a bottleneck for the implementation of some SRH self-care interventions. For example, the national abortion guideline and obstetrics management protocols do not include self-assessment for medical abortion (MA) eligibility or self-management of MA drugs.
Other challenges include a lack of community awareness and education programs. For example, a HIV self-testing kit is provided only for the key and priority populations who are visiting facilities to test their partners at home. The information on HIV self-testing is not disseminated widely in the communities, in part due to poor health literacy, which is especially high among women.
Also, there are challenges in health facilities that have not yet introduced woman-held case notes (home-based records), despite the nation’s antenatal care (ANC) guidelines encouraging all facilities that provide ANC services to use the case notes to improve the continuity and quality of care and women’s pregnancy experiences.
Through advocacy work for self-care, ESOG hopes to achieve a safe and supportive enabling environment in Ethiopia that promotes active participation of individuals in their health and an exciting way forward to reach a range of improved outcomes. These outcomes include increased coverage and access, reduced health disparities and increased equity, increased quality of services, improved health and social outcomes, and reduced cost and more efficient use of healthcare resources and services.
For more on ESOG’s activities, publications, and conferences, check out the ESOG website.
With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.
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