Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ethiopia: Gains and Reflections Over the Past Two Decades

Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ethiopia: Gains and Reflections Over the Past Two Decades

Published: Aug 09, 2022
Publisher: Reproductive Health, vol. 19, supplement 1

Yemane Berhane

Over the past two decades, through a series of concerted policies, programs, and commitments, Ethiopia has made notable advances in improving the reproductive health of its population, including expanding family planning (FP) information and services to larger segments of the population. Starting with the first Health Sector Development Plan in 1997, the Ethiopian government has invested heavily in health system strengthening and fostered a supportive policy environment for the expansion of access to health services and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programming. The national health extension program and the accelerated expansion of primary health care services to increase both the availability and accessibility of essential services have both proven pivotal to expanding FP access, most notably among the country’s rural population. The government’s FP2020 commitments signaled its prioritization of increased funding for FP services and focus on adolescents and youth. The National Youth Policy enacted in 2004 and subsequent adolescent and youth (AY) SRH strategies—which expanded services to Ethiopia’s large youth population—provided a supportive AYSRH policy environment that has fostered improved reproductive health outcomes among this population. Similarly, the liberalization of the abortion law in 2005 expanded the conditions under which safe abortion care can be provided and expanded access to abortion care by authorizing midwives to provide abortion services.

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