There are a variety of partners in Ethiopia working with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to support priority health sector initiatives. The FMOH has exhibited enormous commitment to improving maternal and newborn health and more recently, PTB/LBW outcomes. The platform for this important work in Ethiopia is the district (woreda) Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) which extends from the community to the district hospital level in rural areas, and from the community to tertiary hospital level in urban areas.

To strengthen PHCU services for mothers and newborns the FMOH is strengthening neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in district hospitals and setting up newborn care corners in facilities with labor and delivery services, as well as the integrated management of newborn and child illnesses and basic emergency obstetric and newborn care. At the same time, the FMOH is scaling their community-based newborn care package (CBNC) across the country as part of their broader Health Services Extension Program. Implementation of the CBNC package in rural areas is led by the country’s community-based Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and their network, the Health Development Army.  In urban areas, the Urban Health Extension Training program is working with nurses and urban HEWs.

Every Preemie has partnered with St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College and the FMOH to assess the scope and implementation of services for small and sick newborns within the Ethiopian public health care system in three geographic locations: Kobo district in the Amhara region (representing the settled agrarian community), Dolo Mena district in the Oromia region (representing the semi-settled/pastoral community), and Kirkos and Yeka sub-cities in Addis Ababa (representing the urban community).

The study will describe how maternal and newborn interventions and services for small and sick newborns are implemented across the Ethiopian public health care system across these regions, and identify key challenges to and opportunities for improving preterm, LBW and sick newborn services nationwide. The findings will inform the development of recommendations to the FMOH on national programming to support the implementation, coverage and quality of select interventions and services to improve outcomes for small and sick newborns in Ethiopia.