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UNFPA, the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency, today handed over a high-spec ambulance to the Afar Regional Health Bureau. The ambulance was purchased with the generous funding of the Government of Denmark as part of a humanitarian-peace-development nexus programme entitled “Integrated Project on Sexual & Reproductive Health, GBV and COVID-19 among women in Afar region in Ethiopia.” This is the second ambulance provided to the Afar Region and emergency reproductive health and dignity kits were also handed over at the event today.   


Denmark in partnership with UNFPA has been supporting the programme since August 2020 in six woredas in the Afar Region. The programme has contributed to improving the low maternal health indicators in its implementation districts. Only 15 percent of women in the region are delivering at a health facility and skilled birth attendance remains only a little more than 11 percent according to the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey of 2016.


H.E. Alexander Skommer Larsen, Deputy Head of Mission of Denmark to Ethiopia, said during the handover event: “Enhancing health services, outreach and building capacity of health teams will make a great difference for women and children in Afar regionThe ambulance services will contribute to supporting the development of an inclusive and robust medical health system in the region.


The programme has been contributing to strengthening the health system in the implementation districts mainly through the provision of capacity development of health personnel and health institutions. Reproductive health commodities and essential maternal health supplies responding to the needs of close to 300 thousand emergency affected populations have been provided by the programme. More than 6 thousand personal protective equipment have also been distributed to the target health facilities. The support is believed to be pivotal in ensuring the continuity of essential sexual and reproductive health services, particularly in the context of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Ms. Sarah Masale, the UNFPA Country Representative a.i., said on the occasion that “the ambulance would strengthen the referral linkages in addressing obstetric complications and other critical cases.” She added that “this would enhance efforts at promoting safe delivery and ending preventable maternal deaths in the region.” 


The integrated programme is being implemented in the Afambo, Asayita, Awash, Chifra, Dubti, and Mille woredas, including in humanitarian settings. In addition to ensuring continuity of essential reproductive health services, the programme has also improved access to gender-based violence prevention and protection services integrated with the COVID-19 response.  Around 10 thousand dignity kits have been distributed to the most vulnerable women and girls.


The programme has also supported a total of around 90 thousand internally displaced persons/returnees, refugees hosted in the region and host communities through community based provision of information on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. 


The hand-over ceremony was attended by high level officials from the Ministry of Health, Afar Region as well as senior officials of the Embassy of Denmark and UNFPA. 




For further information, please contact:  

  • Alemayehu Bogale, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Emergencies Programme Analyst; NFPA Country Office; E-mail:
  • Shalom Aklilu, Programme Officer; Royal Danish EmbassyEmail:
  • Paula Fernandez Seijo, Communication Specialist, UNFPA Ethiopia. Mobile: +251 935597136 - E-mail:
  • Abraham Gelaw, Communication Officer, UNFPA Country Office; Mobile: +251911488627; Email: