Where We Work // Africa // Ethiopia


IntraHealth International began working in Ethiopia in 2003 introducing services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. IntraHealth led the task force to develop the first national PMTCT guidelines and worked with local partners to roll out innovative approaches such as support groups for mothers with HIV, home-based PMTCT services, and mainstreaming of gender approaches in health worker training. IntraHealth continues to work in Ethiopia by integrating health services, building strong partnerships, and strengthening maternal, newborn, and child health, family planning, and PMTCT and elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) services. 

Ethiopia has emerged as a development leader on the African continent, and has made high-quality maternal, newborn, and child health services for its population a priority. By reducing its child mortality rate from 204 to 68 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2012, Ethiopia met its Millennium Development Goal 4 target ahead of schedule. The country has also reduced its fertility rate and drastically increased women’s access to and use of modern family planning methods. There are also indications that the rate of new HIV infections is declining.

Yet much remains to be done to ensure every family has access to high-quality, integrated health services. The country’s health system continues to face challenges and human resources for health are both insufficient and poorly distributed, leaving many—particularly rural communities—without access to trained and supported health workers.

More information on IntraHealth's work is available in the country brief and in the technical brief.

Selected Achievements

  • Scaled up and built demand for PMTCT services, including supporting PMTCT-MNCH service integration in 1,025 health centers—a third of the country’s health facilities. About 1.4 million pregnant women have received HIV testing, and thousands of HIV-positive women have received treatment.
  • Collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health to develop critical guidelines such as the training package for basic emergency obstetric care, a roadmap for safe motherhood, and implementation plans for scale up of Option B+ and elimination of mother-to-child-transmission (EMTCT) of HIV.
  • Cultivated strong regional partnerships and provided key assistance for health worker training, mentoring, and supportive supervision for PMTCT services in Ethiopia’s five largest regions.
  • Introduced the Option B+ approach in selected health facilities. Option B+ offers lifelong antiretroviral therapy to all HIV-positive pregnant women regardless of their clinical stage.
  • Established 230 mothers’ support groups for HIV-positive women at facilities offering PMTCT services, based on South Africa’s Mothers2Mothers model (www.m2m.org). The highly successful groups have increased uptake of antiretroviral prophylaxis (98% among pregnant mothers and 96% among infants).
  • Assisted over 1,000 women with fistula pre- and post-repair care. Over 4,000 health workers and over 2,300 community volunteers have received fistula-related training.
  • Trained peer volunteers (mentor mothers and fistula mentors) to provide family planning counseling and referrals.
  • Conducted a gender assessment to identify gender biases and barriers affecting uptake of male partner testing and institutional delivery services.

Key Local Partners

  • Federal Ministry of Health
  • Regional Health Bureaus

Past Projects (& Funders)

  • CapacityPlus 2009-present (USAID)
  • Community Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Project 2009–2014 (USAID)
  • Social Welfare Workforce Assessment 2012–2013 (UNICEF)
  • Fistula Care Project 2007–2013 (USAID, supporting partner to EngenderHealth)
  • HIV/AIDS Care and Support Program 2007–2011 (USAID, supporting partner to Management Sciences for Health)
  • Preventive Care Package 2009-2011 (USAID, supporting partner to Population Services International)
  • Capacity Project 2007–2009 (USAID)
  • Fenote Tesfa (PC4) Project 2004-2009 (USAID, supporting partner to Abt Associates)
  • Extending Service Delivery Project 2005-2006 (USAID, supporting partner to Pathfinder International)
  • Hareg Project 2003–2007 (USAID)
  • ACQUIRE Project 2002-2004(USAID, supporting partner to EngenderHealth)


Misrak Makonnen


Misrak Makonnen
IntraHealth Country Director and Project Director (CPMTCT Project)






Karen Blyth


Karen Blyth
Director of East Africa Programs





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