Since DKT started operations there in 1990, Ethiopia has made remarkable progress towards improving access to and use of contraceptives. For example, contraceptive prevalence by married women increased dramatically, with use of modern contraceptives increasing from less than 3% in 1990 to 33.3% in 2014. Similarly, the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime decreased from 6.4 in 1990 to 4.4 in 2014. This is partly due to DKT’s efforts to help legalize medical abortion in Ethiopia during that time.
Ethiopia’s robust economic growth and high levels of donor support suggest that these family planning indicators will continue to improve over the coming years. At the same time, more is needed to reach the 18.8% of currently married women 15-49 who say they want to use family planning but are not able to do so.
The 2012 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic noted the progress Ethiopia has made in fighting HIV from 2001-2011, when new infections dropped by 90%, the largest drop of any country in Africa (and the second greatest in the world). What’s more, the 2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey reported HIV prevalence at a relatively modest 1.5%. However, HIV still represents a significant challenge and threat and much work remains to be done before HIV is eliminated.
DKT Ethiopia began operations in 1990 with the introduction of Hiwot Trust condoms. The program now socially markets condoms (3 brands with eight variants of Sensation), oral contraceptives (3 brands), an injectable contraceptive, an emergency contraceptive and several other reproductive health and child survival products. In 2013, it delivered 2,442,890 couple years of protection (CYPs). It regularly supplies 25% of Ethiopia’s CYPs and 33% of the condoms. In December 2013, Studies in Family Planning published an article documenting DKT’s contribution to Ethiopia’s family planning success.
DKT Ethiopia maintains offices and warehouses across the country. The organization’s database of nearly 20,000 sales points provides real-time data that feeds back into the organization’s products and activities. DKT Ethiopia has tapped local entrepreneurial talent through the organization’s Young Marketers (YM) Initiative. YM includes nearly 200 anti-AIDS clubs that sell the organization’s condoms. YM clubs regularly account for a third of the organization’s condom sales.
DKT Ethiopia provides several brands across product type in order to reach all economic segments. The organization extensively promotes several brands of condoms and contraceptives with inspirational messages linking family planning and reproductive health with a better life.
In addition to its core sales activity, DKT Ethiopia is considered a leader in innovative programming. DKT Ethiopia’s Wise-Up Program is one of Africa’s largest HIV prevention programs targeting sex workers. DKT Ethiopia’s extensive distribution of condoms with Ethiopia’s military is considered one of the program’s greatest successes.
DKT has developed three major behavior change communication campaigns focused on family planning. The 2011 Ethiopia Demographic & Health Survey showed that 44% of women and 63% of men have heard or seen the message “Birth spacing makes for a loving, caring and health family” and 32% of women and 50% of men have heard or seen the messages “Your family’s happiness is in your hands” and “It’s wise to have balanced family life.” These campaigns were developed by DKT Ethiopia and adopted by the Ministry of Health. A 2012 study by the African Institute for Development Policy suggests that educational campaigns were one of five key drivers of contraceptive use in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Ethiopia.
DKT Ethiopia’s newest activity is The Likke Project, an attempt to distribute and promote a wide range of contraceptives to rural couples as they visit their local market town. DKT expects to deploy 15 regional teams by 2014, reaching a total of 1,000 market towns.
In 2013, DKT Ethiopia sold more than 58 million condoms, 3.4 million cycles of oral contraceptives, and 2.5 million injectable contraceptives. In addition, DKT sold over 195,000 IUDs and 185,000 medical abortion pills. This translates into 2,442,890 CYPs.
For more information:
Director: Rory Harrington
Address: Bole Kifle Ketema, Kebele 23, No. 2005, P.O. Box 8744, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Web sites: www.dktethiopia.org, DKT Ethiopia’s Wise-Up Program
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Ethiopia College & University Students Network