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One Less Burden for Meaza

World Humanitarian Day is marked every year on the 19th of August honouring the humanitarian workers and organisations while underscoring the importance of providing assistance and support to people i...

World Humanitarian Day is marked every year on the 19th of August honouring the humanitarian workers and organisations while underscoring the importance of providing assistance and support to people in crisis.  

The IPPF-led WISH2ACTION programme sought to scale up integrated sexual and reproductive health services to key populations including the poor, youth under 20, people with disabilities, and those in humanitarian settings when it started at the end of 2018.

In its current phase, the programme is implemented in Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. This includes providing sexual and reproductive health services within conflict areas in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan. The provision of services in humanitarian settings comes with its own set of challenges but heart-wrenching stories such as Meaza’s remind us of the importance of leaving no one behind.

Meaza Hailu, is a 33-year-old married woman who resided with her husband and three children in Kafta Humora in Western Tigray until November 2020 when war broke out. Her family was attacked one night in their home by the armed militia who killed her eldest son. They were expelled from their home and fled to the Mekelle settlement and now reside in an IDP camp.

“Before we were expelled from our homes, we had a decent home and were self-sufficient in every way. Currently, my life is completely devastated after witnessing the killing of my son and my relatives at the hands of armed local militia. Now, we have lost everything we had and find ourselves seeking shelter in an empty settlement in Mekelle. Our survival depends solely on aid agencies and the local host communities. Unfortunately, we have not received any food assistance for several months, and we are suffering severely from starvation, physical ailments, and stress. Both my children and I find it hard to fall asleep since we witnessed the murder of my son” she said.

The WISH2ACTION programme has mobile health teams that visit IDP camps in the Tigray region raising awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights and providing sexual and reproductive health services including contraception, post-abortion care, antenatal care, and care for survivors of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV).

Overburdened by her hardships and traumatised by her experience, Meaza does not want to have another child at this time. “Due to the hardships, we are facing, I cannot afford to have another child in the near term. Additionally, I do not plan to have another child until we can return to our home and resume a normal life. That is why I visited several public facilities, including Mekelle General Hospital, in search of contraception services, but without success.”

Meaza had visited several public facilities in Mekelle seeking contraceptive services, but commodities were unavailable. “Recently, I went to Mekelle Hospital, seeking contraceptive services. The providers there told me to wait until the WISH2ACTION mobile SRH team visited my IDP site. I waited for the team for one week, hoping to finally access the family planning service I had been seeking for a long time."

On May 16, 2023, the programme mobile health team visited the Hatsey Yohannes IDP site in Mekelle. Meaza attended the outreach. She received counselling and opted for a three-year contraceptive implant. After the service, she expressed her gratitude to the team, “Now, you have relieved a tremendous burden for me, and I am truly grateful to the WISH staff.”

Feven Nigussie, an outreach service provider, emphasized the significance of their work, stating Majority of our clients are displaced and host community women and girls. We regularly attend to different SRH-related cases such as SGBV survivors, women, and girls seeking post-abortion care for unintended pregnancies and contraceptive services to prevent pregnancies, etc. The programme is contributing to a reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity related to complications of unsafe abortions, and SGBV.”

Meaza is representative of the millions of people in need of assistance in humanitarian settings across the globe. Today should stand as a reminder that we should all advocate for those in need and work towards a more compassionate and just world.






Related Member Association

Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia