Case Study: Tackling Tuberculosis in Ethiopia
Women across Ethiopia are taking the lead in combating tuberculosis (TB). The government of Ethiopia is working with the UK government and the Global Fund, to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by training 37,000 women as health extension workers (HEW). These women, who are selected from their communities, are provided with training in 17 different health “packages,” from sanitation and hygiene to AIDS education. Thanks to the HEW program, more than 90% of Ethiopia’s population now has access to health care.
TB is a major public health concern in Ethiopia, and it is a large part of the workload for these health workers. HEWs provide supervision during the treatment period, visiting patients at their homes. But cultural and geographical barriers to treatment for TB remain, particularly for women.
A new project – TB REACH – is training HEW to provide diagnostic and treatment services in the home. As a result, women now have the same access to TB services as men. TB notifications in the project area have doubled and HEWs report increased job satisfaction, as well as greater respect from their communities. This pilot project is now being expanded nationally.
Last updated: September 12, 2014