In Ethiopia, around 52 percent of the population lives in malaria risk areas; pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under five; and the country has one of the highest neglected tropical disease burdens in Africa. The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) has one of the highest malaria burdens in the country, accounting for 18 percent of total malaria cases reported nationally in 2019/2020. We work closely with the government to strengthen the health system, reduce the malaria burden and tackle poor child health indicators including pneumonia.  

Strengthening community-based malaria prevention and surveillance interventions

We will contribute to the sustained reduction of malaria in Wolaiyita zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia, by strengthening the management and technical capacity of the primary health care unit to maintain high coverage and the use of high impact anti-malaria interventions.

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BREATHE - Breath recognition aid
to health experts

We undertook a study to develop an improved reference standard for counting respiratory rate through annotation software to help validate new automated pneumonia diagnostic aids for children under five. 

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Transform - Primary healthcare

We supported strengthening primary healthcare in Ethiopia to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths by supporting the implementation of the Government’s Health Sector Transformation Plan. The projecy aimed to improve the management and performance of Ethiopia’s health system, increase the sustainability and quality of service delivery across primary healthcare, improve households’ and communities’ health practices and health seeking behaviours and share learning to strengthen policies and practices.

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ARIDA field trial acceptability study

We undertook trials of acute respiratory infection diagnostic aids (ARIDA) to determine if frontline health care workers in resource limited community settings and health facilities using respiratory rate counting aids are able to correctly assess and classify children under five with cough and/or difficulty breathing and explore the acceptability of these devices in this context.

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Happy Feet: Accelerating the control of Podoconiosis in Ethiopia

The outcome of the project is to contribute to the reduction of the rate of new Podoconiosis cases through universal access to appropriate preventive and management health services, to less than one percent in districts where the project is active, by 2025.

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Strengthening the pneumonia response in Ethiopia 

In discussion with the Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition directorate of the Federal Ministry of Health, we are developing an action plan for the integrated management of newborn and childhood illnesses, focusing on pneumonia and diarrhoea, to support the existing newborn and child survival strategy and child health roadmap.

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Determining the malaria burden and long-term complications following SARS-CoV-2 infection 

This study is taking place in Ethiopia and Uganda. It uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches and a case-control study design to explore the relationship between past SARS-CoV-2 infection and malaria risk.

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Malaria Consortium in Ethiopia

Malaria Consortium has been implementing projects in Ethiopia since 2004 from our offices in Addis Ababa and Hawassa, with a focus on the Oromia region and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region (SNNPR). We support the Ethiopian government in its efforts to tackle three major public health issues: malaria, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and poor child health indicators such as pneumonia and febrile illness. 

Alongside our programmes, we have facilitated forums to coordinate stakeholders’ efforts and streamline the technical assistance provided to national and regional programmes through mechanisms including the Coalition Against Malaria in Ethiopia and the Malaria Control Support Team’s Technical Advisory Committee as well as undertaking pioneering research projects with the support of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute and others. 

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Areas of focus

Health system strengtheningSocial and behaviour changeNeglected tropical diseasesChild and maternal health

Strengthening existing health systems is key to sustainably reducing malaria morbidity and mortality in Ethiopia. We offer technical expertise in malaria surveillance to assist decision-makers in gathering data to evaluate programmes and target scarce resources effectively. We are developing and setting up surveillance dashboards at district health offices and health facilities, with a view to enhancing the health system’s capacity to identify and respond to malaria outbreaks. We also plan to support the Federal Ministry of Health’s (FMoH) rollout of a new electronic community health information system to stimulate the use of data for decision-making. To further support health system responsiveness, together with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, we were the first to monitor changes in malaria epidemiology in different endemicity settings in Ethiopia as part of the Beyond Garki project and have helped reduce malaria morbidity in the SNNPR by improving malaria diagnosis and case management at health facilities. 

We promote social and behaviour change (SBC) interventions to ensure that the communities we work with are informed and engaged — supporting the practice of preventive health behaviours and community-led solutions. Through targeted, multi-level SBC approaches, we inform households of the importance of indoor residual spraying (IRS) and encourage them to use long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) correctly and consistently, seek healthcare early on and adhere to treatments. We have disseminated key public health messages through radio broadcasts, billboards and posters, mobile vans and community dialogues and, recognising schools as an effective entry point for SBC activities, developed School Club Guidelines for the SNNPR which have fed into the Federal Ministry of Health’s rollout of anti-malaria school activities in other parts of the country. 

We support the government’s strategic objective of integrating interventions for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) into the primary healthcare system. This is part of the country’s NTD Master Plan (2016–2020) and is in line the World Health Organization’s (WHO) NTD road map (2021–2030). Our operational research project in Ethiopia explores the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of integrating interventions for lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma and podoconiosis into the healthcare system. The latter is a non-communicable disease that affects over 1.5 million people in Ethiopia, but is little understood. 

We support the implementation of the Ethiopian government’s Health Sector Transformation Plan to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths. Through the USAID-funded Transform: Primary Health Care  (2017–2019), we developed the capacity of antenatal care providers to diagnose and treat malaria, as well as to record case management data in the regions of Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNPR and worked to improve treatment of unclassified fever in under-fives by assessing health extension workers’ treatment of cases of unclassified fever and their follow-up recommendations. We have also pioneered digital health solutions to tackle pneumonia, introducing two automated respiratory rate counting aids and investigating the use of artificial intelligence to improve the ease of diagnosing pneumonia in children under five.