Evaluating the impact of Ethiopia’s Health Extension Programme on adolescent health and wellbeing
Jun 22nd 2021
Led by Dr William Rudgard (University of Oxford) and Silinganisiwe Dzumbunu (University of Cape Town), this project is aimed at evaluating the effects of the Ethiopian Government’s Health Extension Programme (HEP) on multiple dimensions of adolescent health and wellbeing. The Ethiopian HEP was rolled out in 2003 to strengthen four primary health components (1) Family health services; (2) Disease prevention and control; (3) Hygiene and Environmental Sanitation; (4) Health Education and Communication. The programme expanded rapidly with the construction of >6000 health posts, and training of >34,000 female Health Extension Workers (HEWs) by 2010. As the first study to evaluate programme impacts amongst adolescents, we focus on four rounds of detailed information from the Young Lives cohort of 1000 young people aged 8 years at baseline in 2002 and 19 years at final follow-up. Preliminary findings indicate that support from HEP is associated with better educational outcomes for boys and girls, and additionally in girls, lower risk of early marriage and child pregnancy. The project has informed the latest National Reproductive Health Strategy via dissemination of findings to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, UNICEF Ethiopia, and international NGOs. Next steps will be to unpack the causal mechanisms underlying these observed impacts and evaluate possible interactions between HEP and other social policies rolled out by the Ethiopian government over the same period.
Dr William Rudgard (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) Silinganisiwe Dzumbunu (University of Cape Town, South Africa) Dr Rachel Yates (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) Dr Elona Toska (University of Cape Town, South Africa) Professor Heidi Stӧckl (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom) Professor Mark Orkin (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa) Professor Lucie Cluver (University of Oxford & University of Cape Town, United Kingdom & South Africa)