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Ethiopia: Health System Has Collapsed in Conflict-Affected Areas

Across conflict-affected areas in Ethiopia, the health system has been brought to a standstill. In Tigray, just 3% of all health facilities are fully functioning. In Amhara, where over 800,000 people are displaced, more than 50% of the health facilities have been damaged and the area has been treating a surplus of patients. In Amhara and Oromia, violence has continued and caused significant strain on health facilities as hospital beds, medical equipment, pharmacies, and ambulances have been looted. Overcrowding among displaced communities and the lack of healthcare has led to measles, malaria, and cholera outbreaks.   

Project HOPE was one of the first organizations to operate in the Tigray region after violence subsided and carried out a vaccination campaign to deliver the first set of COVID-19 vaccines to the area in partnership with the Tigray Regional Health Bureau, World Health Organization, USAID, and other partners. Project HOPE recently concluded the deployment of Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs) in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions to deliver primary healthcare and emergency nutritional assistance. In six months, the MHNTs were able to provide health services to nearly 60,000 people who were displaced by conflict in northern Ethiopia, including prenatal care for 2,700 women, over 250 assisted births, and nutritional screening, management, and referral to over 24,500 children and pregnant and lactating women.  

Dawit Tsegaye, Project HOPE’s Country Director for Ethiopia, said:  

The lethal combination of violence, climate crises, diseases, and political turmoil has left many communities, most of whom are displaced, without a lifeline to access critical health care. While the war in Tigray has officially ended and my country has gradually receded from international headlines, the need for healthcare and humanitarian aid has only increased as more people move home to find their communities in ruins.   

As the threat of famine looms in northern Ethiopia, the health systems in Tigray and Amhara are not set up to treat the growing number of people who are malnourished. Health workers are scarce, and many health facilities are not operational due to significant damage.  

As an international community, we cannot forget about the people of northern Ethiopia now that conflict in Tigray has subsided. The climate crisis, poverty, and political turmoil continue to severely impact the country’s health systems. I urgently implore development partners to fund mobile medical units and to ramp up mental health support, and malnutrition programs catered to people living in rural, hard-to-reach areas. We need innovative and bold solutions to address the urgent health needs, combat malnutrition at scale, and rebuild health systems.” 

For Media Inquiries: media@projecthope.org.

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