The Women of Afedench

Afedench (pronounced alpha-denchu) is the largest kebele (like village) in the Selga 22 Health center catchment area just outside Assosa town. Afedench is a Berta village and it means “place of honey” in the Berta language, Rutana. When we arrived at the health post, we were greeted with about 30 women, all leaders in the health development army. The health development army is the grassroots branch of the Ethiopian health care system where one model woman, someone who has completed 90% of health education packages taught by the health extension worker, leads a group of five women to share her health knowledge and motivate health seeking behaviours. The women talked about how participation in the health development army and promotion of health education has really impacted health positively in the village. “There used to be a lot of diseases here and we used to come to the health post often…but now, not so many are coming to the health post because of all the prevention measures,” said one mother.

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