The Health Extension Program
The Earth Institute’s Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia (CNHDE), in coordination with the Ethiopian national government, provides science and technical guidance, advice and support to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health’s Health Extension Program (HEP). The Health Extension Program (HEP) is an innovative health service delivery program that aims at universal coverage of primary health care. The program gives priority to the prevention and control of communicable disease with active community participation, with the goal of providing equitable access to health services. The program is based on expanding physical health infrastructure and developing a cadre of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) who will provide basic curative and preventive health services in every rural community.
The government decided to accelerate the implementation of the HEP in order to cover the whole country by 2009. So far, more than 17,000 HEWs have been trained and deployed in 8500 villages, and a total of 30,000 HEWs will be trained by 2009. In addition, thousands of other health care services staff, particularly at the Health Center level, will receive training to aid in the accelerated implementation of the HEP. Currently, there are 34 training centers in seven regions training HEW workers.
To date, the CNHDE has carried out two studies in relation to the program namely: Training of Health Extension Workers: First Intake Assessment; and Working Conditions of Health Extension Workers. A broader baseline survey for the Health Extension Program has also been conducted, which covers 9 regions and around 7000 households. The baseline report will be finalized in 2007.