3 Million Woman Army

An armada of ordinary women has been key to family health across Ethiopia, opening “our eyes to the community’s needs,” writes Admasu Kesete, Ethiopia’s former health minister and CEO of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
The 2003 Health Extension Program helped 40,000 health workers deliver basic needs, halving child mortality in 8 years. But to tackle maternal mortality, expectant mothers needed obstetrics in clinics. The Women’s Development Army’s 3 million stepped in to help, liaising between communities and facilities. The women brought initiatives like “maternity waiting homes” and stretchers for pregnant women, helping facility births jump from 20% to 73% from 2011-2016.

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