Ethiopia Gets On the Pill, and That Matters for Africa

January 30, 2012 • Family Planning, Ethiopia, Daily Email Recap

The following article was recently seen on RH Reality Check, which provides reproductive and sexual health and justice news, analysis and commentary. See:

Ethiopia Gets on The Pill, and that Matters for Africa

by Jessica Mack

January 11, 2012 – 11:42pm

African countries are too often lumped together as one big composite of grave statistics and chronic epidemics. Because of this, it’s especially important that the global development and reproductive health communities recognize and amplify those success stories that can be told.  Especially when these stories are designed and driven by local efforts.

Less than 20 years ago, contraceptive use in Ethiopia among married women of reproductive age was a measly 3 percent, and maternal mortality rates were among the highest in the world. Today, contraceptive use is at 29 percent, double that of just five years ago and higher now than the level of contraceptive use in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. It’s an exponential increase in record time. Maternal deaths have also dropped, and now occur at less than half the rate they were just a few decades ago.

“Government ownership is critical [for improving reproductive health],” says Dan Pellegrom, President of Pathfinder International, which has worked in the country since 1964.” And Ethiopia’s government took ownership.” That ownership took the form of renewed commitment to women and girls, and creative collaborations with aid agencies to make long-acting contraceptive methods in particular more available. (Injectable contraceptives are by far the most popular method countrywide). A waiver of the 2007 import tax on contraceptives also increased the flow of supplies throughout the country.

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