Mr. Solomon Abebe Addis
Mentor: Dr. Dereje Negussie, Engender Health Ethiopia
Maternal Health Focus: Institutional delivery
“It was an exceptional fellowship that crated an opportunity for intensive learning, service database establishment, economic empowerment of HIV positive mothers, and a platform to do research on integration. Hence, I am now more equipped and miles ahead to fulfill my maternal health dream!”
A Noble Purpose
‘Three decades into the AIDS epidemic there is no visible integration of Family Planning in HIV clinics. I am passionate to innovate more comprehensive, non-stigmatized, cost-effective, and efficient ways of integration for better maternal health.’ With this thought Solomon took up institutional delivery as his Maternal Health Focus under his mentor Dr. Dereje Negussie of Engender Health.
Solomon Addis has a MS in Social Development Management, a degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology and certificate in Management Development. He has experience working with the government and local NGOs, mostly on youth-related projects. He has a multi-dimensional approach to maternal health and reproductive health issues. Solomon is a believer in networking and connects to society through the various forums and clubs that he manages. He is the founder of Millennium Youth Coalition, an organization that facilitates trainings, workshops, campaigns, and provides health access for rural girls. He had established a large HIV Network in Ethiopia that comprises more than 800 health organizations which succeeded in providing referral health service for 25,000 destitute HIV positive mothers. Solomon is a strong social media user and discusses maternal health issues on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and contributes to Alliance Newsletter.
The Journey: A Dream Come True
Solomon conducted a research titled ‘Exploring the Integration of Family Planning Service with Anti-Retroviral Therapy Service in Addis Ababa.’ He has gained in-depth knowledge about maternal health and family planning from his mentor, documents at EngenderHealth, and global online courses. This young champion assisted Engender Health Ethiopia to develop report collection templates for regional offices and initiated the publication of the organization's biannual newsletter. He also worked on the set-up of the first-ever Ethiopian national toll-free telephone service to provide holistic maternal health service for HIV positive mothers.
There is generally a good know-how regarding the importance of integrating family planning with antiretroviral therapy services among HIV positive women in the health centers. It appears that integration of Family Planning in antiretroviral therapy room would improve privacy and confidentiality, shorten the waiting time for service, and most importantly increase the uptake of family planning among HIV positive women as barriers are addressed. However, with two exceptions, health centers in the study were far away from integrating family planning for antiretroviral therapy service users, which ultimately resulted in low uptake of family planning services among HIV positive mothers. The main reasons that prohibited health centers from integrating the services were lack of skilled man power, high client load, small rooms, and lack of concern on part of antiretroviral therapy service providers.