Ethiopia’s reduced child mortality rate

Not so very long ago Ethiopia had one of the worst child mortality rates in Africa but it’s managed to slash the death toll by two-thirds, three years ahead of the Millennium Development Goal’s (MDG’s).

On a recent interview with CCTV, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms. Gillian Mellsop, said “The key heroes in reducing child mortality by two third in Ethiopia are the 38,000, mainly women government salaried, health extension workers in addition to the political commitment and the vision of the government and sustainable funding.”

See the full programme which was aired on CCTV below:

Media Get-Together with UNICEF National Ambassadors -Abelone Melesse and Hannah Godefa

By Wossen Mulatu

Hannah Godefa and Abelone Melesse
Media meets UNICEF Ethiopia National Ambassadors-Hannah Godefa and Abelone Melesse on Friday, 24 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

ADDIS ABABA, 24 July 2015 Today, UNICEF’s Media and External Relations Section has organised the third media get-together with UNICEF National Ambassadors to Ethiopia – Hannah Godefa and Abelone Melesse. Also present on the occasion as guests of honour were the fathers of Abelone and Hannah- Ato Solomon Melesse and Ato Godefa Assegahen respectively.

Since their appointment as UNICEF National Ambassadors, Hannah and Abelone have shown a true commitment to the issues of women and children by involving in different advocacy activities both in Ethiopia and abroad. At the media get- together, both Hannah and Abelone shared their current activities in relation to the rights of women and children including their recent field visit to Amhara region to see UNICEF- supported child protection and health activities.

At the occasion, the media had the opportunity to ask questions to Abelone and Hannah on their role as ambassadors, their inspiration and their future plan. The media also forwarded their questions to their fathers on how they have raised their daughters and how they support them.

Speaking of her visit to Amhara region, Hannah said the most fulfilling part of her visit was the interaction she had with the women and children in the community. “I have talked to women who were faced with child marriage instead of going to school- it’s really heartbreaking.”

Seventeen year old Hannah became a UNICEF National Ambassador in 2013. This year, Hannah has participated at the World Education Forum 2015 (WEF) from 19 to 22 May in the city of Incheon, Republic of Korea. Hannah joined the “Leaving no one behind – how education can drive inclusive development?” panel co-hosted by the UNICEF Executive Director and David McKenzie of CNN. On 16 June, Hannah became a panelist or the 29th session of the Human Rights Council’s panel discussion on girls’ education held in Geneva.

Abelone on her part said, “My visit to Dera woreda in Amhara region has been an eye opener to see the progress made in the health sector in Ethiopia. I have witnessed how the health extension workers reach the most vulnerable population through promotive, preventive and basic curative health and nutrition services. My goal is to advocate especially for maternal health though my songs as a rap singer.”

Nineteen year old young rap star Abelone Melesse became a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia in 2014. This year, Abelone has attended a number of meetings and conferences in her new capacity as an Ambassador. On International Women’s Day, Abelone was invited by Ethiopian Women’s Association in Norway joined by high level Norwegian politicians where she had the opportunity to deliberate a speech and perform her songs on behalf of the women in Norway and in Ethiopia. Abelone also officially released her new single entitled “Jewels of the world” – a song which she has dedicated to UNICEF at the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The song written by Abelone herself has received more than 10,000 views on Youtube 7,150 views on Facebook  and 70,106 views on DireTube.

Note to the media

How can UNICEF support the media? Our UNICEF Ethiopia website has many different resources, including: publications, photos, press releases, speeches, contact information, guidelines and other information useful for the media. In addition, we are present in many socialmedia platforms such as FacebookTwitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Delicious and Youtube 

In addition, the Media and External Relations Section facilitates individual interviews with specialists and experts on different programmes in different languages including: English, French, Arabic, German, Swahili, Dutch, Italian and many Ethiopian local languages. We also organise media round tables with senior staff and programme specialists, respective government officials and partners on different topics affecting women and children.

Regular media field visits will continue to be organised to visit UNICEF-supported project sites in Addis Ababa as well as in the regions.

We wish to thank those who were able to join us and look forward to our continuous collaboration in 2015 and beyond.

UNICEF Ethiopia Appoints young rap star Abelone Melese as its New National Ambassador

Abelone Melese and Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting Representative for UNICEF Ethiopia hold a UNICEF T-shirt to officiate Abelone's new title.
Abelone Melese and Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting Representative for UNICEF Ethiopia hold a UNICEF T-shirt to officiate Abelone’s new title. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

20 November 2014, Addis Ababa: Today, UNICEF Ethiopia appointed young rap star Abelone Melese, a citizen of Norway with Ethiopian origin, as its new National Ambassador at a signing ceremony held in its premises. The event was attended by Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Mrs. Tove Stub, Minister Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy, members of the media and UNICEF staff.

Abelone, after visiting Ethiopia several times, was driven by compassion and the zest to help mothers and children by using her music to convey positive messages. She participated in a project called 10,000 happy birthdays which was a fundraising activity to help mothers in Malawi and Ethiopia. At a fundraising concert organized for this project, Abelone performed a rap song in Amharic and English on the situation of African mothers-a song she composed especially for this concert and which has left a big impression and fans.

Abelone Melese interviewed by the media on her new role as the newest UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia.
Abelone Melese interviewed by the media on her new role as the newest UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia.

Speaking of her new title as a UNICEF National Ambassador Abelone said, “I have always wanted to help children and young people who do not have the opportunities to reach their highest potential. Since I couldn’t do it financially, I am happy that I can use my talent to convey those messages”. She further said, “Working with UNICEF as a National Ambassador will allow me to help defend the rights of children, including the right to education, health, nutrition, water, and sanitation, protection and participation and ensure compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, because that’s what UNICEF is about.”

Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting UNICEF Representative underlined, “Abelone is a role model for her peers and especially girls. Her candid personality coupled with her strong presence in the public domain sends powerful messages that reach the hearts and minds of children and youth all over the world. We are confident that she will make a positive contribution especially in the area of child rights, maternal health and girl’s empowerment during her ambassadorship.”

Abelone is following in the footsteps of Aster Awoke and Hannah Godefa as UNICEF National Ambassador by demonstrating an outstanding commitment and dedication by promoting the rights of children’s issues over time.

Abelone, as the new National Ambassador to Ethiopia, will sign a two year agreement with UNICEF starting 20 November which is Universal Children’s Day and the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of a Children. (CRC)

In addition, she will perform on 21 November at the Music Concert organized jointly by UNICEF and Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MoWCYA) to celebrate International Day of the Girl Child (IDG) at Alliance Ethio-Francaise in the evening at 20:00.

Here is Abelone’s reflection after the ceremony

See the pictures from the ceremony here 

And her PSA with Hannah Godefa here

Discussion and Premiere of Documentary Films on Children in Ethiopia

posterWhat: Discussion and Premiere of Documentary Films on Children in Ethiopia in collaboration with 9th Ethiopian International Film Festival (EIFF); Wednesday, 19 November 2014, from 2:00-6:00pm, Italian Cultural Institute;

Who: Ethiopian International Film Festival, UNICEF, Nordic Embassies, WHIZKID, WALTA Information Centre, ZELEMAN

Why:  Preceding the national celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child and Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF will premiere two documentary films at the 9th Ethiopian International Film Festival followed by a panel discussion on;

  • Children’s right to information, expression and culture
  •  Impact of how children are portrayed in the media on society’s understanding of children’s needs

Nationally the international day of the Girl Child is celebrated with the theme of Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence, on 21st November in recognition of the importance of investing in and empowering adolescent girls and preventing and eliminating various forms of violence against adolescent girls. The theme, “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence”, speaks directly to the issues at the core of gender violence in schools – gender discrimination, gender inequality and harmful gender and social norms.

Mass media has a wide influence over all our lives. Media professionals (journalists, photographers, film makers) can contribute to improve ‘media literacy’ among children, and adults, by explaining how the mass media operates, and how to interpret its messages.

In Ethiopia, pneumonia is a leading single disease killing under-five children

Kokeb Negussie and her husband Teshome watch their two month old son Moges rest in Romey Village-Amhara Region
Kokeb Negussie and her husband Teshome watch their two month old son Moges rest in Romey Village-Amhara Region ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Getachew

NEW YORK/Addis Ababa, 12 November 2014 – Significant declines in child deaths from pneumonia prove that strategies to defeat the disease are working, UNICEF said on the fifth World Pneumonia Day. But much more is needed to stop hundreds of thousands of children from succumbing to this preventable illness each year.

Pneumonia is still among the leading killers of children – accounting for 15 per cent of deaths, or approximately 940,000 children per year – but deaths from the disease have declined by 44 per cent since 2000, according to figures released recently by UNICEF.

“Pneumonia is still a very dangerous disease – it kills more children under five than HIV/AIDS, malaria, injuries and measles combined – and though the numbers are declining, with nearly 1 million deaths a year, there is no room for complacency,” said Dr. Mickey Chopra, head of UNICEF’s global health programmes. “Poverty is the biggest risk factor, and that means our efforts need to reach every child, no matter how marginalized.”

Deaths from pneumonia are highest in poor rural communities. Household air pollution is a major cause of pneumonia, so children from households which rely on solid fuels such as wood, dung or charcoal for cooking or heating, are at high risk. Overcrowded homes also contribute to higher pneumonia levels. In addition poor children are less likely to be immunized against measles and whooping cough, which are also among major causes of the disease.

Health Extension Worker Shewaye Berhanu administers the PCV vaccine
Health Extension Worker Shewaye Berhanu administers the PCV vaccine ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2011/Lemma

In Ethiopia, pneumonia is a leading single disease killing under-five children. It is estimated that 3,370,000 children encounter pneumonia annually which contributes to 20 per cent of all causes of deaths killing over 40,000 under-five children every year[1]. These deaths are easily preventable and treatable through simple and cost effective interventions. Immunization, good nutrition, exclusive breast feeding, appropriate complementary feeding and hand washing are among the preventive while administration of amoxicillin dispersible tablets and other antibiotics are among the curative methods which can save lives.

With the objective of increasing access to these lifesaving interventions, Ethiopia has made a policy breakthrough of introducing community based treatment of pneumonia through health extension workers in 2010[2]. Since then over 38,000 health extension workers from nearly 15,000 health posts are equipped with the skills and supplies to treat pneumonia at community level using the integrated community case management (iCCM) approach.[3]

Early diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia, and access to health care, will save lives, thus strategies must target low income communities.

The increased use of pneumonia vaccines, particularly in low income countries has led to progress against the disease, but inequities exist even in countries with wide coverage.

 “Closing the treatment gap between the poor and the better off is crucial to bringing down preventable deaths from pneumonia,” Dr Chopra said. “The more we focus on the causes and the known solutions, the faster we will bring this childhood scourge under control.”

UNICEF’s Supply Division has today put out a call to innovators for new, improved and more easily affordable respiratory rate timers to aid in the timely recognition and management of pneumonia.

One simple treatment has had great success: trained community health workers give sick children the antibiotic amoxicillin in a child-friendly tablet form, as part of an integrated case management programme at the community level. Scaling up the availability of similar inexpensive medicines will help to reduce the treatment gap especially among hard to reach populations.

Simple measures such as early and exclusive breastfeeding; handwashing with soap; vaccination; and provision of micronutrients will also reduce the incidence of pneumonia.

[1] Fischer Walker, 2013

[2] National plan on Integrated Community Case management of common childhood illness, FMOH, 2010

[3] UNICEF, Ethiopia Central Data Base, October 2014

Media Alert: Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million for Right Based Approach to Adolescents and Youth Development in Ethiopia

Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million (US$ 17, 421,026) to support UNICEF/UNFPA Joint Programme on Right Based Approach to Adolescents and Youth Development in Ethiopia

 What: Grant signing of  NOK 100 million (US$ 17,421, 026) from the Royal Norwegian Embassy to support the joint UNICEF and UNFPA programme on rights-based approach to adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia (Phase II – 2014-2017).

When: Wednesday 4 June2014, time 9:30am.

Where: Elilly International Hotel, Addis Ababa.

Who:   H.E. Mr. Odd-Inge Kvalheim, Ambassador, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia;     H.E Ato Berhanu Feyissa Director General, Federal HAPCO, Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia; Mr. Faustin Yao, UNFPA Representative to Ethiopia.

Why:   About 33 per cent of Ethiopian population are aged 10-24 years, with nearly 22 per cent being adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years. Young people, in particular female youth, continually face risks such as poverty, HIV/AIDS infection, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and harmful traditional practices.[1] To complement government’s efforts in addressing adolescent and youth issues, the joint UNICEF and UNFPA programme provides an integrated youth-friendly services on protection and promotion of rights related reproductive health services, HIV/AIDS prevention services, and livelihoods.

For further information, please contact:

UNICEF: Wossen Mulatu, Communication Officer, UNICEF Ethiopia,
Tel.: +251 115 184028, Mobile: +251 911 308483, email: wmulatu[@]unicef.org

UNFPA: Dursit Abdishekur, Programme Coordinator, Adolescent and Youth SRH,

Tel. +251-11-5444047; E-mail: abdishekur[@]unfpa.org

[1] National Youth Policy Implementation Status Assessment, MOWCYA in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA, December 2012, AA.

Showing results, key for both Media and UNICEF

By Frehiwot Yilma

UNICEF meets with media for the second get together
The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

ADDIS ABABA, 14 April 2014 – The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media concluded with a meaningful discussion on how best the media and UNICEF could work together to advocate for the children and women of Ethiopia. Attended by more than 15 journalists, the discussion focused on how to jointly address issues like child marriage.

More than ever, UNICEF is keen on working closely with the media in pushing development agendas affecting children and women. UNICEF is also eager to learn more from the media on how best it can position itself to create awareness and demonstrate results with the public, developmental partners and donors. This get-together is one of the platforms for both the media and UNICEF.

One of the issues that came out strongly by the media was getting a holistic picture of a programme or intervention. According to suggestions made by the journalists: figures and data should not be presented singularly but  rather within a context of trends so they can better understand the progress made as well as anticipate future developments. The UNICEF Ethiopia website presents many different resources including: different publications, research, photos, press releases, speeches, contact information, guidelines and other information useful for the media.

Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda
Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda at UNICEF Ethiopia’s second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

Furthermore, the journalists suggested that government officials along with development partners could attend the UNICEF’s media roundtables to help give them a comprehensive view on different topics affecting women and children.

Journalists also expressed interest in learning about UNICEF programmes in more detail and about how a specific intervention produced results for the Ethiopian community as well as the future generation of the country. For this, journalists have requested media visits so they can witness results at woreda and kebele levels where the programme is being implemented.

The highlight of the get-together was summed up by a question raised by the journalists: what makes UNICEF and its programmes unique and worthy of advocating? And what is UNICEF’s plan for changing its perception of Ethiopian people especially in the rural areas from well known to harmful traditions? These are also questions to which UNICEF’s developmental partners can also contribute.

UNICEF strives to provide basic rights for children including the right to health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and access to education. All this is done in support of the Government of Ethiopia.

Since its establishment in 1952, UNICEF Ethiopia has created the capacity to ensure that its development work accelerates at national and community levels with good relations from bilateral donors, development partners and civil society, including the media in Ethiopia. This key position makes UNICEF a unique partner among development agencies and a resourceful agency for the media.

Read about the first get together here