Ethiopia: COVID-19 Limits Force Ethiopian Mothers to Give Birth at Home

Shegitu, a health extension worker, facilitates a women's conversation on family planning (FP) at Buture Health Post. Since 2006, the Ethiopia Public Health Association (EPHA) has been building the capacity of the country's Health Extension Program and expanding access to quality community-based FP services. EPHA has trained numerous health extension workers in comprehensive FP with an emphasis on IUCD insertion, enabling many women to receive their contraceptive method of choice.

COVID-19 travel restrictions in Ethiopia are forcing pregnant women to give birth at home, health workers say.

For Kenasa Kumera, receiving panicked phone calls from women going into labor has become an everyday occurrence.

Ever since Ethiopia implemented strict travel bans last month to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Marie Stopes International maternity center he manages in Adama, roughly 100 kilometers from the capital, Addis Ababa, has received up to 10 calls a day from women unable to reach his center to give birth.

The trend, he said, is of particular concern in poor areas with no ambulances and where traveling even small distances can be difficult.