New programs, updates and more...
Funded by FIT and our donors, explore how the CPAR project, Remote Ultrasound Antenatal Care Access (RUAA), is transforming healthcare in rural Ethiopia where access to OB/GYN physicians is limited.
Project 302: A memorial with lasting impact
When Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed in March 2019 - claiming the lives of 157 on board, including 18 Canadians and many more with ties to Canada, the world mourned the tragic loss.
In 2022, Transport Canada announced the creation of the Commemoration Fund for the victims - guided by the surviving family and friends. The goal was to honour their memories and support the causes they cared about, while making a real and lasting impact in their memory.
CPAR is deeply honored to be chosen as one of the charities to receive funding, and our program 'Commemorating Victims of Ethiopian Airlines 302 by Empowering Disadvantaged High School Students in Addis Ababa' (or Project 302) aims to bring lasting and positive change to adolescents in Addis Ababa high schools through a broad outreach program of education, health, career and social development and environmental change.
Girls belong in school. Period
CPAR is helping girls stay in school with the Freedom to Learn project in Malawi.
Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief is partnering with the Fund for Innovation and Transformation, Global Affairs Canada, the Inter-Council Network and Freedom from Fistula on Freedom to Learn – a project aimed at keeping adolescent girls in school by supporting menstrual hygiene management.
The onset of menstruation and the inability to manage menstrual hygiene at school – with no hygiene products, no latrines for privacy, no support from teachers or the school community -- means adolescent girls are missing school and dropping out.
Many girls are compelled by their families to stay home during menses, resulting in missing 5-7 days of school per month. The accumulation of missed schooldays leads to poor school performance and a significant lag behind their male peers causing many girls to drop out of school entirely. CPAR's initial assessment found that absenteeism is 30 percent higher for girls than boys. The community survey conducted by CPAR found that 60% of adolescent girls will miss some school due to menstruation.
Menstrual hygiene products are not readily available in rural communities and are a low priority for households with meagre incomes. Girls and women resort to using unhygienic methods, like scraps of soiled cloth as a poor and dangerous substitute for sanitary products, which increases rates of infection and further exacerbates school absenteeism.
We are committed to investing in the health of women and girls. Through this project, we are focusing on four primary schools in the rural Lilongwe district of Malawi – two of which are part of our Green Schools Network – where students range in age from 11 to 19 years old.
Canadian and African MDs unite for women
CPAR is working to reduce the inequalities faced by African women when it comes to their health, whether it is removing barriers to accessing prenatal care, enhancing education about sexual and reproductive health, or increasing the capacity of health systems to identify and treat women’s health issues including as a result of gender-based violence.
On International Women’s Day 2022, we would like to introduce two incredible doctors who have been instrumental in our work to improve the health of girls and women in the communities we serve. Dr. Felagot Tadesse, MD, OBGYN, is the Chief Resident, Assistant Professor and Quality Vice Head at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, department of OBGYN in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"When I see a woman suffering from preventable health conditions, I ask myself what if she was my child, my sister, or my mother. I go back and consider my role and my contribution to lessen such suffering it gives me the energy to work harder and dream bigger.”
Dr. Felagot joined CPAR when we expanded our rural ultrasound program to include hours during Saturday market days. Women in rural Ethiopia travel to market on the weekend to work and trade, so including hours when women were already in town reduced the burden of additional time and travel costs. When an expectant mother visits the clinic (health post), the local healthcare professional connects with Dr. Felagot, in Addis Ababa, who reviews the ultrasound imaging in real-time and provides critical diagnostic information, ensuring more healthy mothers and babies.,
"Being part of a society with major healthcare challenges is what inspired me to become a physician. Still, being a female physician in such a society has further instilled in me a special responsibility to contribute my part for the improvement of the health and wellbeing of women and girls.”
In addition to the rural ultrasound program, Dr. Felagot is leading the development of tools which will provide clear steps for healthcare professionals to follow when treating girls and women who have experienced gender-based violence. She provides oversight and ongoing support to nurses, midwives, and healthcare extension workers in treating girls and women who have experienced gender-based violence.,
"CPAR focuses on the most neglected health issues in developing countries. Giving emphasis to these difficult but underestimated health conditions allows us to reach the neediest women: women suffering physically, emotionally, socially, and economically from preventable health conditions.”",
Here in Canada, Dr. Jennifer Nicholson, MD, OBGYN, is a volunteer and valued member of CPAR’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) that brings together doctors and healthcare professionals from around the world to share their expertise to support and guide our programming.
Through her work with PAC, she is drawing on her extensive experience to help find the most efficient ways to provide services and navigate challenges. "Local in-country teams are the experts in their medical system. Even in Canada, every hospital has a way of doing things. Sometimes an outside perspective allows teams to see alternative ways to do things and how things can change and improve,” she said.
Dr. Nicholson saw the expansion of our rural ultrasound program as a straightforward way to reduce barriers for women accessing care. She explains that ultrasounds reduce risks for mothers and their babies in a number of ways. For example, by accurately dating a pregnancy so women are aware and may avoid post-term pregnancies (over 40 weeks) or identifying where the placenta is located to determine if caesarean section would be safer for delivery. She is inspired working with CPAR by, "the very real impact that CPAR programs can provide in improving the outcomes for mothers and babies in truly disadvantaged circumstances.”
Dr. Nicholson is currently collaborating with Dr. Felagot, drawing on Canadian content and international best practices, to develop tools to support healthcare professionals in the field when treating girls and women who have experienced gender-based violence.,
Back to School for Two Canadian Charities in Africa
CPAR is partnering with the Ryan's Well Foundation to bring water, sanitation and hygiene to over 1,000 school children in Malawi as part of CPAR’s Green Schools Project! The Ryan’s Well Foundation is contributing its funds and expertise for the construction of four 30,000-litre rainwater harvesting tanks for four primary schools, 40 latrine stances, and sanitation and hygiene education for the teachers and students at three primary schools. Green Schools is a project to not only bring clean, safe water to schools in rural Malawi, but it also teaches children about sustainable agriculture and includes the establishment of community and school gardens – aided by water from the tanks. To find out more about this exciting partnership, read our full press release now.
ODF Status for TA Khongoni
With the construction of over 1,500 latrines and improvements to 350 wells in Khongoni, we’re celebrating the news that the area has achieved ODF status – reducing the incidences of cholera and related diseases. Thank you to the dedicated CPAR team in Malawi and the people of the Traditional Authority of Khongoni for achieving this important health milestone!
Sanitation Activities in Lilongwe ongoing
CPAR is happy to announce that our Sanitation Activities Project in Malawi are continuing! CPAR is working to make TA Khongoni in Lilongwe officially ODF. ODF means Open Defecation Free. Having toilets available will make all the difference to the people who live in these communities. Their water source will no longer be subject to contamination, which means less people will get sick. CPAR will also be teaching communities proper handwashing techniques.
CPAR's COVID-19 Prevention Project in Malawi
CPAR is proud to announce that we have been working hard to educate local communities of the Dowa and Kasungu Districts in Malawi about COVID-19 symptoms and prevention methods. Our field officers made sure to reach every person they could with this information to help stop the spread of this disease. While doing this work our staff was equipped with personal protective equipment to help keep them safe while interacting with communities.
New Immunization Project in Malawi
CPAR in excited to announce that we have started a new immunization project in the Lilongwe and Dowa districts of Malawi. Vaccines protect children from preventable diseases, which is why CPAR will work with the local district councils to not only inform the communities about the importance of vaccines, but also ensure that healthcare facilities have the capacity to vaccinate every child.
Access to Obstetrical Care in Rural Areas of Ethiopia
CPAR is very happy to announce, on this International Day of Rural Women, that CPAR, the Fund for Innovation and Transformation, Global Affairs Canada, the Inter-Council Network and Dr. Mendez from the University of Saskatchewan are partnering to build obstetrical ultrasound capacity in remote and low resource regions of Ethiopia. This project will increase access to prenatal care for pregnant women and increase the warning time of obstetrical complications, and help decrease Ethiopia’s maternal mortality rate which is currently 412 deaths per 100,000 births, double the global average. This project will impact over 12,700 women and girls living in rural areas.
Stop Malaria in its Tracks Project is Back!
CPAR’s Stop Malaria in its Tracks project is back! Our field officers are working to reach the most remote communities in the NkhataBay and Nkhotakota districts of Malawi to make sure that no person is without proper information about malaria.
Enhancing Sexual Reproductive Health Project in Ethiopia
CPAR and Global Affairs Canada are joining forces to support the delivery of the National Ethiopian curriculum for sexual reproductive health (SRH) as well as supporting the development of the capacity of healthcare system’s SRH services for women and adolescents in the Amhara and Oromia Regional States of Ethiopia. This $4.1 million project is set to directly impact the lives of 708,458 women and girls.
CPAR will work with the Ethiopian Ministries of Health, Women and children, and Education to deliver the national curriculum on sexual reproductive health (SRH) and support the development of SRH health service capacity.
CPAR and Global Affairs Canada’s new Enhancing Sexual Reproductive Health for Women and Adolescents’ project has adapted to the realities of working to create lasting change during a pandemic. To ensure that women and girls are able to access information about their sexual reproductive health while staying safe during COVID-19, CPAR has focused on the development of effective but low-transmission risk activities. In particular, radio messaging throughout the Regional States and e-learning for front-line health care workers are the initial activities that will safely kick off this 4-year project.
Supplies for Fitche Hospital
As COVID-19 continues to spread, CPAR has been working hard to help Fitche Hospital in Ethiopia get ready for the pandemic. Ethiopia is facing the same shortage of personal protective equipment, sanitizer, and ventilators as the rest of the world. Thankfully, our wonderful staff at our CPAR office in Addis Ababa have been able to procure masks, gloves, sanitizer, and oxygen tanks for Fitche Hospital. These vital supplies will help protect the hospital staff and increase their capacity to provide oxygen for patients who need it.
Initially, we faced a challenge in getting the supplies to the hospital, as it is located 112 kilometres from Addis Ababa. Thankfully, we found a creative solution. The Fitche Hospital ambulance travels regularly to Addis Ababa to transfer patients to the bigger hospitals in the capital, and then returns to Fitche empty. But no longer! Now, it will travel back to Fitche filled to the brim with much-needed supplies for the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of combating this disease.
Early on April 14th, for the first time, our Ethiopian staff filled the ambulance with all the gloves, masks, sanitizer, and oxygen tanks it could hold and sent it on its way. As the production of personal protective equipment ramps up around the world, we hope to be able to send regular shipments over the coming weeks.
News about this pandemic changes daily and we are working hard to help our staff and the local communities prepare for it. On top of sending equipment and supplies to Fitche Hospital, we are also developing an e-learning platform to provide staff with the most up-to-date knowledge so they can be as effective as possible while treating patients who may have COVID-19. We also want to provide the 57 health centres and 297 health posts that the hospital supports with the same training, equipment, and personal protective equipment.
We are critically aware of the small window of opportunity that is available to us, given that Africa is a few weeks behind the rest of the world in terms of the spread of COVID-19. It is so important to reach as many people as we can, both urban and rural, to share the message about the importance of handwashing, social distancing, and self-isolation. Ultimately, we want to help protect Ethiopia from being hit as hard as many other countries—a goal we are working day and night to achieve.
Slowing COVID in Africa
A message from Kathrina Loeffler, Executive Director:
As COVID-19 continues its destructive path around the world, I wanted to connect with the CPAR community to send my care and concern for all of you. I hope you and your families and friends are finding your footing in this strange new world. Please remember to follow Public Health Canada to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and slow the spread.
We at CPAR are continuing to fight – from our home offices and kitchen tables – to prevent this illness from overwhelming the communities in Ethiopia and Malawi where we do most of our work. Every day, I am grateful for the luxury of being able to self-isolate, to wash my hands in clean water, and to stay in virtual touch with family and friends. The contrast with some of the communities in Africa, where crowded living conditions and lack of access to clean water are the norm, couldn’t be starker.
The potential for devastation, after all the advances that we and many other organizations have made in those communities, horrifies and saddens me. Our field staff are working long hours to reach even more people with education about hand hygiene and sanitation. We continue our efforts to increase access to clean water. And, while we can no longer send Canadian health professionals to volunteer at Fitche Hospital in rural Ethiopia, we are mobilizing resources, in cooperation with local ministries of health, to develop distance learning solutions to help the staff stay healthy so they can care for their patients. They all require support and education to protect themselves from COVID-19, and the hospital is in desperate need of thermometers, masks, and sanitizers that we plan to source from local connections. Even more troubling is the fact that it does not have a single ventilator. That keeps me up at night.
If you are able to donate to help us give them a fighting chance, it would be sincerely appreciated. If that’s not possible, please accept my thanks for your support and your interest. I would ask that you include these vulnerable populations in your thoughts and prayers.
Please note that until 1 July 2020, all donations to CPAR will be channeled to our COVID-19 work in Malawi and Ethiopia. We will re-evaluate as we get closer to that date and determine if we can return to funding our other projects.
Thank you for being part of our global community and for your trust in the work we do. Stay safe, stay calm, and let’s carry on together. From a distance.
Find out more about our COVID-19 prevention and relief efforts in Ethiopia and Malawi.
TA Kabudula in Malawi is officially ODF!
We are celebrating - Traditional Authority (TA) Kabudula, which consists of 1300 villages, is ODF!
On 18th October 2019, TA Kabudula in Malawi was officially declared ODF by the National Sanitation and Hygiene Technical Committee.
What is ODF and why are we celebrating it? ODF means “Open Defecation Free”.
Poor sanitation is a significant cause of death, disease and disability in the world, especially in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, unsafe water, and poor sanitation and hygiene kill about 1.7 million people every year. Open defecation is when people empty their bowels out in the open instead of in a closed and controlled structure like a toilet. Open defecation contaminates water systems, which are sources of drinking water. And flies can also transmit bacteria onto food and drink. It is believed that poor sanitation alone is the main cause of over 400,000 deaths each and every year.
As an implementing partner for a Management Sciences for Health (MSH) project, CPAR is combatting these stats by empowering communities through the use of Community-Led Total Sanitation, an approach that mobilizes communities to appraise their poor sanitation practices, such as open defecation, and to take action. Our program accelerates latrine coverage, improves sanitation practices and water access, and encourages schools and communities to become open-defecation free.
CPAR has been implementing programs in Malawi since 1992 and CPAR Malawi is the only organization in Malawi to have achieved the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Level 2 status, the highest level of achievement in WASH interventions in Malawi. This was achieved in Kasungu in Traditional Authority (TA) Chilowamatambe in 2018 on a project we implemented for UNICEF.
Health System Strengthening
The first training session of CPAR’s “Improving Medical Emergency Health Outcomes through Health System Strengthening (IMEHO-HSS)” project has been completed. A total of 19 health professionals who are serving in the North Shoa Zone Health Office (NSZHO) participated.
The IMEHO-HSS project supports the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MOH), which has recently begun rolling out training of Comprehensive Emergency Health Care Services at the health centre level in order to meet the standards of care as laid out in the Ethiopian Hospital Transformation Guidelines, 2016.
This Basic Emergency Care training is organized by CPAR in collaboration with Ethiopian MOH, Oromia Regional Health Bureau, NSZHO, and Selale University.
This course was designed for frontline health care providers who manage acute life-threatening conditions with limited resources in order to provide them with the knowledge and clinical skills needed to respond appropriately to emergency cases/situations. It was designed to provide a systematic initial approach to managing acute, potentially life-threatening conditions even before a diagnosis is known.
The Disease Control Priorities Project (a joint project by the WHO, World Bank, Gates Foundation and others) estimates that nearly half of all deaths and a third of disabilities in low- and middle-income countries result from conditions that could be addressed by emergency care.
Over 353 million seedlings planted in Ethiopia in 12-hours!CPAR has always understood the importance of trees for food security, livelihoods, good health and to combat climate change. Since we were founded in 1984, close to 78 million trees have been planted within our projects.
Pictured: Staff from CPAR Ethiopia, Canadian Feed the Children Ethiopia, Farm Radio International Ethiopia doing their part by planting trees on our compound.