Health Extension Workers
The Ethiopian Ministry of Health launched an innovative program to place health extension workers in every village to ensure that all Ethiopians have access to basic preventative health care. The 30,000 health extension workers are young women from the communities they serve. They provide a wide array of services to their communities from nutritional counseling and immunizations to hygiene and family planning. The Health Extension Workers are the first line of defense in Ethiopia's health system and the most able to reach at-risk women. The Liya Kebede Foundation is working to support these young women and their work.
Watch the video to learn more about the Health Extension Worker program:
Hawassa Maternal Child Health Center: 2011- Present
The Hawassa Maternal Child Health Center (MCH) in Hawassa, Ethiopia opened its doors in 2011. The Liya Kebede Foundation, in partnership with ENHAPA (the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association), enabled the MCH to provide mothers and children access to life saving medical care. LKF equipped and helped train the center’s obstetrical and neonatal emergency intervention team, which ensures safe deliveries to mothers in the region. In 2012 alone, the center has increased hospital deliveries by 51% as well as access to prenatal and postnatal care for mothers. Additionally, the center provides vaccinations, nutritional counseling and checkups for young children and has decreased the rates of mother-to-child HIV transmission within the community. The Hawassa Maternal Child Health Center strives to be a model for new maternity clinics that aim to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates for underserved communities.
The Durame Hospital is the only hospital serving more than 850,000 people in rural Ethiopia. This hospital, supported by the health centers and health posts, is the only source of life-saving care for patients for hundreds of miles. Although the hospital has a new building and a dedicated staff of doctors and nurses, it faces major challenges. The hospital lacks access to safe water supplies, needed medical equipment and transportation for patients.
When the hospital opened, the Liya Kebede Foundation made a commitment to support the Durame Hospital and ensure it has the tools to give proper care to mothers and their newborn children. We have already sent supplies and equipment to the hospital and we are dedicated to continuing our support.
Hamlin Fistula Hospital
For every woman who dies in child birth, twenty more will suffer debilitating and often lifelong injuries. Injuries such as fistula - literally a hole between the mother’s vagina and her bladder or rectum that is caused by obstructed labor and avoided in the developed world through medical intervention - often leave women isolated, rejected by their communities and unable to support themselves.
The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has been treating fistulas and giving women back their lives for more than three decades. Today, the hospital provides free fistula repair surgery to approximately 1,200 women every year and cares for 35 long-term patients. In 2006, Liya Kebede travelled to Ethiopia to launch the WHO obstetric fistula manual at the hospital and we remain committed to supporting the important work of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.
Champions for an HIV Free Generation
AIDS represents one of the greatest leadership challenges of our time. The Champions for an HIV-Free Generation are highly visibly leaders and outspoken advocates for those affected and infected by HIV. They include four former African presidents, a Nobel Laureate, and other high-level African leaders from different walks of life, including model and activist Liya Kebede. The Champions focus their efforts in sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than two-thirds of all people living with HIV. With a focus on proven HIV prevention practices, the Champions embrace and promote key policy, legal, cultural and behavioral practices and messages that help accelerate the social outcomes needed to achieve an HIV-free generation.
The collaborating partners of this initiative are the World Bank, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and PEPFAR.