Success of Mrs. Godada, A Health Extension Worker in Ethiopia

The Health[e]Foundation and Nuru Ethiopia are implementing the Health[e]Family program for 50 health extension workers (HEWs) in Boreda and Kucha Woreda, in collaboration with the Gamo Zone, Boreda, and Kucha Woreda health offices. This program is funded by Diophte and Stichting Virtutis Opus.

The aim of this program is to improve maternal and newborn health among farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya through a blended learning approach and m-health interventions. Following a face-to-face kickoff workshop, the participants engage in a period of self-directed online learning. These health extension workers are also tasked with enrolling expectant mothers into Lucy Care and providing health information based on the Lucy Care platform.

Mrs. Godada Digis, one of the HEWs enrolled in the Health[e]family program, has 16 years of experience working in the southern part of Ethiopia, in the Gamo Zone, Boreda Woreda. She shares her challenges related to her work before joining the Health[e]family program:

“Before this program was implemented and we received a tablet with the Health[e]Family module and Lucy Care, we registered patient information on paper, which made it impossible to register and advise women effectively. This frequently resulted in missed registrations and interrupted services for both moms and infants. However, Lucy Care has rectified this issue, saving me time and ensuring that no mothers are missed from the service.”
Mrs. Godada, a health extension worker (HEW) who is participating in the Health[e]Family program.

As Mrs. Godada mentioned, due to the lack of proper registration, many mothers would not access vital antenatal and postnatal care (ANC and PNC). Now, her clients bring other mothers to Mrs. Godada by sharing their positive experiences with her services and Lucy Care.

“Lucy Care has significantly reduced my workload, allowing me to build closer relationships with my clients. Looking ahead, I am assured that this program will help reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity, with the help of God.”

She had no previous experience with a program like this for registering mothers. She recalled one organization giving out tablets to register families, but there had been no follow-up after that. In contrast, this program has been different and Mrs. Godada has observed a significant change in her community. The HEWs encourage all mothers with children under five-years-old for breastfeeding demonstrations, which are well-received. The participants found the demonstrations useful and have expressed their willingness to attend future sessions. Additionally, parents now seek medical services early when their children become sick, thanks to the program’s influence.

Mrs. Godada holding her tablet which has the LUCY Care App open.

“I have to work in three villages, and Lucy Care helps me reach all the mothers and infants in my community. Even if I forget an appointment, Lucy Care will remind me. I have learned about nutrition, breastfeeding, breastfeeding positions, complementary feeding, newborn health, ANC, PNC, and danger signs through this program.”

With Lucy Care, Mrs. Godada can register all mothers in her catchment area, not only saving her time but also increasing the number of mothers and infants who receive services. The system makes appointment days visible, which ensures consistent follow-up, preventing any mother from missing out on essential ANC and PNC. The system also provides health information that Mrs. Godada can share with her clients, allowing her to provide comprehensive breast feeding, ANC, PNC, and immunization informational services.

“Previously, there were mothers who dropped out of ANC appointments and vaccination schedules. Now, I call them to remind them of their appointments when Lucy Care shows me that it’s time for us to meet, and they all come. Additionally, mothers typically came late for ANC appointments, around their 20th week of pregnancy. Now, with the program’s influence, mothers start attending ANC appointments as early as 12 weeks. This early engagement has increased the number of mothers attending regular ANC appointments, ensuring better prenatal care and birthing outcomes.”

Mrs. Godada offers her advice for other HEWs considering similar training opportunities:

“All mothers should be registered and followed by Lucy Care. All HEWs should use Lucy Care, and all infants should be included in the system. Care groups should support Lucy Care, as teamwork is crucial for providing early ANC services. Adding all women and infants to Lucy Care and ensuring all HEWs use it will improve our work and enhance group collaboration.”

The Health[e]Foundation and Nuru Ethiopia would like to thank Mrs. Godada Digis for being a part of this program and sharing her story. We would also like to thank our donors who make this program possible.