EngenderHealth Announces Ethiopia Lowlands Health Activity to Improve Health and Nutrition Outcomes 

March 28, 2024 (Washington, DC)—EngenderHealth launched a new project, the Lowlands Health Activity, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This activity will increase access and utilization of quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent and youth health and nutrition (RMNCAH-N) services in 35 woredas (districts) in the Afar, Somali, South Ethiopia, and Oromia regions. 

“We are excited to partner with USAID and the Government of Ethiopia in this primary healthcare project that is rooted in local partnerships and is client-centered, contributing to the health and wellbeing of pastoralist communities of Ethiopia,” said Sekai Chikowero, Vice President of Programs, EngenderHealth.  

The Lowlands Health Activity (LHA) is a holistic primary healthcare program rooted in local partnerships and underpinned by an innovative, data-driven, and people-centered strategy and a commitment to adaptive learning and management.  

The EngenderHealth team will build off the significant achievements of existing healthcare workers, further strengthening the achievements of our partners, as well as harnessing the gains and learnings of USAID’s prior investments.   

Healthcare workers in the lowlands of Ethiopia have a lot of challenges to overcome. They must navigate weak health systems, lack of supplies and equipment, extreme weather (e.g., drought), multiple emergencies and conflict, and deeply embedded harmful social norms that hamper progress in improving RMNCAH-N outcomes. These factors limit the capacity of our healthcare workers to effectively deliver health services to their communities. 

Over the past two decades, Ethiopia has achieved tremendous advances in making high-quality essential health services available. Despite this progress, regional disparities in health system performance persist, revealing gaps in equity. Pastoralist communities face distinctive challenges in accessing RMNCAH-N services due to the remote and nomadic nature of their lifestyle, making it difficult to access health facilities located primarily in larger towns or mobile or outreach services offered at times or locations inconvenient for them. 

“Highly dependent on mobile livelihoods and very poor infrastructure, pastoralist communities in Ethiopia are among the last to be reached with primary healthcare services,” said Dr. Abdulaziz Ali Oumer, Chief of Party for LHA, EngenderHealth. “We are looking forward to leveraging innovations that have already been proven in Ethiopia and that we will adapt to the specific pastoral context so that we can improve the lives of women and children there.” 

The LHA Consortium partners include international partners JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) who, alongside EngenderHealth, will strengthen the Ministry of Health’s and local stakeholders’ capacity in newborn and child health, immunization and nutrition, and provide technical assistance on health systems strengthening. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center will provide targeted technical assistance to local universities and to the consortium in collaborating, learning, and adapting, and Learning, Monitoring, and Evaluation. Local partners include Pastoralist Concern, the Ethiopian Muslims Relief & Development Association, and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, who are meaningfully engaging communities and local leaders in pastoral areas.  

Learn more about EngenderHealth’s programs in Ethiopia


About EngenderHealth 

EngenderHealth envisions a gender-equal world where all people achieve their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We believe this is essential for ensuring all people can achieve their full potential. To achieve this vision, we implement high-quality, gender-equitable programs that advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.