Research Finds Existing Health Extension Program More Effective Than OHEP

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October 19/2021(ENA) The Ethiopia Health Extension Program has proved more effective in terms of achieving the respective desired goals than the Optimizing Health Extension Program (OHEP) intervention introduced from 2016 to 2019 in selected Woredas, findings revealed.

According to the findings based on research carrried out in 56 Woredas of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regional states, the OHEP was not successful during its intervention in attaining the collaborative efforts of increasing utilization of child health services, capacity building of health extension workers and enhancement of district health administration ownership and accountability of child health service.

The Dagu project presented today over 20 research that evaluate the health extension program which has been implemented since 2010 and the Optimizing Health Extension Program (OHEP) which was introduced from 2016 to 2019.

The findings state that the optimization of the OHEP which included training, supportive supervision, and performance reviews of health extension workers, did not improve the classification of childhood illness.

With regard to mothers and health extension workers perceptions of care, the findings show that health extension workers visited homes of mothers for preventive services but not to manage childhood illnesses.

Primary health care providers referred less than half of the severely ill children that require referral health centers and hospitals, it was pointed out.

The findings concluded that the OHEP intervention did not bring significant difference with much financial and human resource during its intervention periods than the existing health extension program.

Therefore, the reserachers suggested that the existing health extension program continue rather than introducing OHEP which costs additional financial and human resources.