Ethiopia fights a year-round battle with mosquitoes that breed malaria. However, the blood-borne disease hits hardest in September or October, just after the rainy season. Out of an estimated 9 million annual malaria cases, only 4-5 million will be treated in a health facility.
When PSI/Ethiopia launched SafeNite, it was Ethiopia’s first locally branded and commercially available long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito net in 2004. Today, PSI/Ethiopia markets several brands including non-subsidized nets in urban areas and free nets in vulnerable rural areas.
PSI/Ethiopia has distributed 1 million mosquito nets along with communications campaigns on including radio and billboards to raise public interest. It also supports the Ministry of Health’s free net programs with peer education programming in multiple languages. In 2007, PSI/Ethiopia estimates that its efforts averted more than 108,000 cases of malaria.
Mortality rates for children under 5 have dropped from 204 out of every 1,000 live births in the 1990s to 123 out of every 1,000 live births. PSI/Ethiopia’s diarrhea prevention, de-worming, salt iodization and pneumonia programs are aiding in this steadily decline.
In 2006, PSI/Ethiopia launched two free home-based water purification products: WaterGuard and PUR, Purifier of Water®. PSI/Ethiopia also helped train more than 5,000 community health agents who aided the Ethiopian Government control acute watery diarrhea outbreaks in 2006 and 2007. And PSI/Ethiopia worked with the Government again in 2007 on a universal salt iodization program.
Nearly 1 million Ethiopians are living with HIV, which leaves them more susceptible to tuberculosis (TB). Among the 2.6% of TB patients tested for HIV, 40% are HIV positive. PSI/Ethiopia responded to this dual dilemma with a combined HIV/AIDS and TB workplace education program in 2005 that has reached 20,000 employees in more than 30 large companies.
In 2007, PSI/Ethiopia began promoting mobile voluntary HIV counseling and testing services in partnership with Abt Associates. Its next mission is dispensing pre-packaged treatment kits for sexually transmitted infections.
Living with HIV also puts one at higher risk for developing life-threatening cases of malaria and diarrhea. PSI/Ethiopia partnered with Save the Children in 2007 to help empower those living with HIV to prevent secondary sickness with basic care packages, including mosquito nets, water purification systems and soap.