Health Development Army network, Ethiopia

Formative evaluation of the Health Development Army (HDA) network for improving immunisation coverage amongst the pastoral communities of Ethiopia

Principal investigators: Hailay Teklehaimanot, Awash Teklehaimanot, Bekana Tolera, Medihanit Getachew and Mustofa Abdella 
Research organisation: Centre for National Health Development in Ethiopia

This study assesses the effects of extending the government of Ethiopia’s HDA network to pastoral communities. As part of the intervention, existing community-based health workers placed at health posts known as health extension workers will train women from the community to become HDA members and drive health-related behaviour change within their communities. Unlike the providers of formal health services who remain static in terms of location, the HDA members will remain with their pastoral communities and would be responsible for health-service-related engagements. The selected women community members will be systematically trained in immunisation as well as other services that are part of the health extension programme packages in accordance with the government policy. The HDA network would consist of development teams and one-to-five networks. Development teams will be organised in 20-30 households clustered in one-to-five networks living in the same neighbourhood. One-to-five networks are organised in a group of six households living in the same neighborhood. The network leader will report to development team leaders and they would in turn be supervised by health extension workers. About 150 women per kebele or ward will be selected to become the leaders of the one-to-five networks. The study team will randomly select two districts from the eight pastoralist districts and then select one kebele from each district to carry out the formative evaluation.

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