17 July 2018

Ethiopia: Hello Family!

Healthiness of a family is healthiness of a nation. Quality of life is not enjoying with abundant money and exposing oneself for a disharmonious anguish that will stay until the end of life. It is rather enjoying your life being free and safe from any harm which will affect your whole life.

Working to the betterment of the youth is saving generations and contributing one's own part to the prosperity of the motherland. While, working with the new generations; it requires upgrading with a better quality of services and latest technologies to satisfy the demand and become reliable service provider.

Rahiman Redin is Youth Action Movement (YAM) Secretary and 8155 [Hello Family] hotline operator at the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) South Western Area Office (SWAO). She stays more than a year operating the hotline that provides information on HIV/AIDS, family planning and other Sexual Related Health (SRH) issues information to callers. "Youths and women call to the hotline from four corners of the country," she said.

The hotline is free of charge and callers are free to express their feeling freely. The most cases to the hotline are pregnancy and abortion, family planning, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), HIV/AIDS and information about FGAE, cervical and breast cancer respectively. These and other SRH cases rose with especially youths usually students aged 17-30. The hotline is operational early in the morning up to the sun set in which an approximate of 10-15 service users call to the hotline per day. But, more calls come from service users after 11:00 PM local time. "I sometimes wait until 2:00 PM local time in the evening to reply more calls. And most of the service users prefers the evening time to call freely," she noted.

In the near future, the area office plans to offer the free hotline service up to 4:00 PM local time, she indicated.

The number of calling seeking information about HIV/AIDS is lower. But, youths' vulnerability to the disease will increase following negligence of the youth.

Thus, side with providing information about other SRH issues the hotline operator provides information to maintain the safety of the youth from HIV/AIDS.

Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) South Western Area Office (SWAO) Manager Desalegn Workineh said that the hotline service helps youths to access information easily at home. Using the hotline the association strives to address youths' and students' health information problems countrywide.

Among total of 583, 275 male and 308 female hotline service users accessed the service within the last five months sample period collected by FGAE SWAO. This figure shows that female callers are greater than males in which they are more vulnerable to SRH problems.

Based on callers' regional locations, Oromia State is the leading with 364 total service users accessed the service of which 250 are females and 114 are males. The service types accessed include family planning, pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Here, the main reason behind is the location of the hotline is in Jimma city in which peoples know more about the hotline service through billboard, local and national FM radio and other media outlets.

Addis Ababa seconds with 145 service users of which115 are males and 30 females. And the service types accessed mostly are SRH and abortion cases.

A total of 56 callers [36 males and 20 female] from Amhara State accessed the hotline service. And the service type accessed is pregnancy and family planning cases. 10 youths [2 males and 8 females] accessed the hotline service from Tigray State seeking information on family planning and pregnancy. While, 5 males from Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' State accessed the service on HIV/AIDS and asked information about the services of FGAE. And one caller from Harari State accessed the service on family planning.

Generally, the above data shows that pregnancy and family planning is the main health issue of callers and repeatedly asked with service users in the country. Thus, promoting pregnancy and family planning services should be prioritized in order to address the health demand of the society.

To sum up, enhancing such services enhances flexible information outreach to the healthiness of the future generations and it will be supported with the active participations of pertinent stakeholders. Diversifying this health service information systems nationwide will help to promote SRH awareness and immensely helps the youth to enjoy safe SRH.

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