By: Dr. Mengistu Hailemariam

Program Manager, CIRHT Ethiopia

Confidence and competency are two guiding principles a skilled health care provider needs to deliver the necessary and highest quality of care for their patients. The Center for International Reproductive Health Training’s (CIRHT) program is helping to build these core attributes among medical students in reproductive health and family planning competencies across Ethiopia.

CIRHT partners with medical schools across Ethiopia, from rural regions to urban areas, preparing students to confidently support girls and women, wherever they may live. These schools vary in size, in structure (some are part of Universities, some are standalone medical schools) and in how long they’ve been established. But more important than these differences is what we share—a commitment and a passion to improve how we train students to become competent, confident and compassionate medical professionals that provide comprehensive reproductive health care throughout the country. CIRHT Ethiopia is driven by those of us who have seen the tragedy that results from lack of care—while also recognizing the opportunity to change the experience of the next generation of both providers and clients.

Yes, Ethiopia has made great strides over the past few years in improving the health of children, men and women across the country. But we’re not done yet in many aspects.

However, together, we’re committed to changing how the next generation of doctors, nurses, midwives and their clients understand and approach reproductive health. In my clinical experience, I witnessed numerous women facing unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions which resulted in serious and fatal health complications.

I don’t want to see more girls, women or families suffer from obstetrics related problems particularly those resulting from unintended pregnancies—I want to see them thrive. By working to strengthen the skills of medical professionals, we’re helping to unlock the potential of the clients and communities they serve.