The recent COVID outbreak has shown us how easily a deadly disease can spread quickly when effective surveillance and response systems are not in place to quickly detect and control diseases from spreading.
Strong health surveillance and disease response systems enable detection of outbreaks early. Responding promptly to disease outbreaks can be the difference between life and death particular in areas where health facilities are struggling.
Moreover, persistent illness, can have huge economic consequences on families. Children who are constantly falling ill, miss so much school that they are high risk of dropout. Adults face the financial costs of disease, from being unable to work, to the costs of travelling to health facilities to seek care, leading to ever deepening poverty trap that families find it impossible escape from. With the help of ITL supporters we are determined to change this picture.
The change we want to see:
Our aim is to reach 93,000 people across two remote, rural zones (sub-regions) through interventions which will significantly minimise the health, economic and social impact of climate change on their lives.
Anticipated impacts include -
- A reduction in the prevalence of climate-related communicable diseases
- Strong health surveillance systems are established, which mean that health emergencies are being quickly identified and effectively addressed
- Health workers and health facilities are better able to respond to health emergencies and undertake preparedness and prevention actions to reduce the risk of individual cases turning into community-wide outbreaks
- Communities are empowered to take control of their own health. More men, women and children have access to clean water and practice good hygiene and sanitation practices.
- Climate thresholds for disease developed through the project are captured and shared across Ethiopia to transform health outcomes for countless other communities
- Lessons learnt from this project are shared and integrated across Christian Aid health programmes to improve the way we deliver integrated health and climate change projects in future
Project Status Update, Spring 2021
We were thrilled when thanks to your incredible response to the ITL 2021 match funding appeal, sufficient funds were raised to start this project.
However whilst working on initial project start-up activities, we heard the devastating news that several members of the Ethiopia team, including colleagues Solomon and Tamrat (who had designed the new ITL project and were due to lead on its delivery) had contracted COVID-19.
The Ethiopia team were left devastated when both Solomon and Tamrat were subsequently admitted to hospital, and shortly after, lost their fight to the disease.
We want to take this opportunity to honour the memory of these two incredibly valued members of the team.
Solomon had worked in our Ethiopia country program since 2008. He played a key role in strengthening the Ethiopia country program’s climate change program and built strong partnerships with governmental and non-governmental climate institutions.
He was an eloquent and passionate ambassador for Christian Aid’s work.
Tamrat worked for Christian Aid for almost 15 years with a particular focus on health and humanitarian work.
He had a deep commitment to Christian Aid’s mission and to improving the lives of communities in Ethiopia. Colleagues commented that his work was much more than a job, but rather a life’s mission.
You may recall that he spoke about this project during the ITL launch event. You can watch the video here.
Losing two colleagues at once within a small and tight-knit team ihas been heartbreaking, and obviously had an impact on project delivery as we recruit and train new staff.
As a result, we have made the decision to push back the project start date for a few months, to allow time to regroup and rebase.
Project initiation activities will now be undertaken during July including assessment of the baseline situation, so we can be very clear and transparent on the difference the project has made. From the start of August, we will then be starting delivery in communities.
We hope you understand the reason for this delay and the need to balance the acute project need, with in-country capacity and ability to safely deliver the project activities to communities.
Our ITL team and our team in Ethiopia have reconfirmed that their commitment to the project remains as strong as ever, as the devastating impact of COVID only serves to reinforce the need to build the capacity of the healthcare system in the most vulnerable communities.
Thousands of lives will be saved because of this project - a fitting and lasting legacy of Solomon's and Tamrat’s vision.