For ages , as a cultural taboo, most Ethiopians used to frown upon sex-related issues and ways of alleviating female's pain that comes with giving birth. Especially, mothers in rural areas of the country often suffered the brunt of the tragedy related to giving birth. The inavailability of health centres close by was one of the formidable factors ascribed to the higher maternal death. Apart from warding off women's physical and psychological problems regarding sexual related health, partners open and frank communication is fundamental. And building a productive generation that is fit both mentally and physically might seek investing more in the health sector.
This time, youths and women are openly discussing on SRH freely. It is safe to claim that, nowadays, thawing the ice the society has made a paradigm shift from shyness to frank communication regarding SRH.
Recently, the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) had held its 28th General Assembly. On the programs organized in line with the event members of the association, higher officials and representatives from public and private institutions were in attendance. They discussed on the nationwide contribution the association made regarding Sexual Related Healthiness (SRH). Since the association is a partner of the Ministry of Health, the government has been providing it supervision and monitoring activities. The government extends financial, material, technical as well as other special supports to update the association's services countrywide.
The policies the government chalked out pertaining to public health, family planning, health, education ,demographics and HIV/AIDS,among others, have played a positive role to the success of the association. The intervention of the association would contribute more regarding averting the social, economic and health related problems. Currently, the government has announced its GTP II Health Sector Transformation Plan(HSTP) which is designed upon the global Sustainable Development Plan (SDP).
Realizing SRH in Ethiopia is realizing maternal health. Thus the active involvement of pertinent stakeholders is fundamental. Sexual Related Health (SRH) is the cornerstone to the achievement of the all-rounded and sustainable development in a given society.
During its 28th General Assembly meeting held recently, Association President Emeritus and one of the founding member Dr. Shmelis Adugna said that the association has played an outstanding role in introducing family planning, Sexual Related Health (SRH) issues, youth focused development and volunteerism in Ethiopia. Currently, the association is fulfilling its social responsibilities and expanding its well-promising services in coordination with the government and sector practitioners.
He underlined that 50 years back, talking about family planning was difficult. For doing so one might turn an object of severe accusation. But following the expansion of family planning, awareness has become possible to mentor mothers in the rural part of the country about the importance of the issue.
Regarding the negative impact of not discussing about sexual related health, he said,in the past, it had made mother's life take a turn from bad to worse. In addition to this, lack of support and acceptance from the government and people were the challenges of the association and maternal health activities previously.
Association President Meaza Kitaw on her part emphasized that the active volunteer participation and mobilization is vital to the achievement of the millennium health sector goals. Working in partnership with sister associations, pertinent stakeholders, health sector practitioners as well as volunteers the government has intensified the association's service and accessibility countrywide.
According to her, the association is set to ensure sexual related health by designing a five year strategic-plan of reaching out the marginalized and vulnerable pastoralists and rural areas. The association also eyes at expanding community based development and providing door-to-door services throughout the country. Active voluntarism, donors support as well as partnership with sisterly associations and stakeholders are fundamental to sustain the association's tangible role in the sector.
Currently, the association has 18,000 plus volunteers throughout the country.