SOS Children's Villages, a global organization dedicated to providing family-based care for orphaned and abandoned children, today announced the launch of a brand new Nursing and Midwife Scholarship program in Ethiopia.
Together, SOS Children's Villages and Johnson & Johnson started this scholarship program at the SOS Nursing School in Makalle, Ethiopia to provide young people with the opportunity to pursue a career in nursing or midwifery. The program provides vulnerable Ethiopian youth who have received support from SOS Villages, whether living in one of Ethiopia's seven SOS Villages or participating in an SOS Family Strengthening Program, the opportunity to pursue nursing and midwifery career paths and ultimately improve the country's access to these much-needed medical services.
"We are very pleased to be partnering with Johnson & Johnson again to expand into other countries in Africa," said Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children's Villages - USA. "This program gives young people in Ethiopia a chance to pursue a valuable career path that otherwise would not have been possible, while at the same time, allowing students to better support their families and gain long-term employment in a country where nurses and midwives are in extremely high demand."
In October 2012, through support from Johnson & Johnson, 13 nursing and midwifery students started their first semester of classes at the SOS Nursing School in Makalle on a three-year scholarship. If successful, this pilot program is anticipated to be replicated in other African countries - where the need is greatest. The SOS Nursing School in Makalle opened in 2001 and has since graduated 216 other nursing students.
Across Ethiopia according to the World Health Organization, just three percent of births in rural areas and 45 percent of urban births are attended by skilled health personnel - resulting in the deaths of 350 out of every 100,000 women that are pregnant or experience childbirth complications. Further, there are approximately two nurses and midwives for every 10,000 people compared to 98 per 10,000 people in the United States, proving the Nursing and Midwife Scholarship program will be crucial in helping change the healthcare offerings in Ethiopia. In addition, it will also better educate and encourage future generations to pursue opportunities in the nursing and midwifery fields.
"Ethiopia is still one of the countries in Africa, if not the world, that is most in need of support to strengthen health services," said Denis Robson, Director, African affairs for Johnson & Johnson. "Therefore it makes a lot of sense to continue partnering with SOS Children's Villages on this new project to help increase the number of new trained health workers. There are so many connections that bring us together. We have a good track record -- we're a good match."