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Ethiopia: People in rural Tigray hit by impact of crisis and humanitarian neglect


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In Ethiopia, we respond to the healthcare needs of both local people and the growing number of refugees, returnees and displaced communities.

We work in coordination with, and in support to, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH), and conduct independent evaluations to determine people’s needs.

In Gambella we provide basic healthcare for refugees from South Sudan and the host community, while in Wardher and across the Somali region, our emergency teams carry out disease surveillance, prevention and response activities for drought-affected communities.

In Afar region, in the northeast, our teams support Dupti hospital by running a treatment facility for patients who need to be admitted for severe and complicated malnutrition. In nearby camps, we also run an outpatient malnutrition programme and provide water for displaced people. 

In Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's region, MSF teams provide care through mobile clinics, epidemic response and occasional support to mass casualty situations. 

In Amhara region, we are assisting in responding to the increased needs in conflict affected areas by donating medical supplies to health facilities and providing mobile clinics for basic healthcare in North and South Wollo. We also treat kala azar and snakebites and offer basic laboratory services in the region. Our team provides health education to patients, their caretakers, staff at Abdurafi health centre, and wider communities.  

Brutal killing of our colleagues in Tigray, in June 2021

On 24 June 2021, our colleagues María Hernández Matas, Yohannes Halefom Reda and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael were killed while providing life-saving assistance to people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. No one has claimed responsibility and the circumstances around their deaths remain unclear. 

After more than one year of engagement with the Ethiopian authorities, we still do not have any credible answers on what happened to our colleagues that day. This brutal attack on three MSF staff is an acute reminder of the urgent need for all parties to provide assurances that humanitarian work can be carried out safely in Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia. We will continue to honour the memory of María, Yohannes and Tedros, and pursue accountability for their killings using all possible means and avenues.

Left to right: Yohannes Halefom Reda, a coordination assistant, was 31 years old, from Ethiopia; María Hernández Matas, 35, from Spain, began working with MSF in 2015; Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, 31, also from Ethiopia, had been a driver for MSF since May 2021.

Our activities in 2023 in Ethiopia

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2023.

MSF in Ethiopia in 2023 In Ethiopia, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) worked in coordination with the Ministry of Health to meet the medical needs of local communities, as well as refugees and displaced people.
Ethiopia IAR map 2023

In 2023, we delivered vital support in 10 regions of Ethiopia. However, insecurity and administrative barriers complicated humanitarian access in many parts of the country, affecting more than 20 million people in need of assistance*.

In Gambella, we provided general and specialised health services, focusing on improving quality of care for refugees from neighbouring South Sudan and the wider community. We also responded to a measles outbreak in the region, providing treatment and supporting a Ministry of Health vaccination campaign.

In Somali region, we carried out emergency activities to address high levels of malnutrition and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and cholera, and offered assistance to displaced people.

In Afar, we ran a treatment centre for patients with severe and complicated malnutrition, and supported the paediatric department of Dupti hospital. We also responded to a cholera outbreak in the region.

In South Ethiopia and Southwest Ethiopia Peoples’ regions, we ran mobile clinics and provided care for malaria and measles, as well as kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis), a neglected tropical disease, for which there is insufficient treatment, due to a lack of profitability.

In Amhara, where conflict is driving a surge in needs, we donated medical supplies and offered treatment for snakebites and kala azar. In addition, we responded to a cholera outbreak in a camp hosting Sudanese refugees, by providing water and sanitation.

In Tigray, we provided paediatric, maternal and malnutrition care, mental health support, and treatment for sexual and gender-based violence. We sent mobile clinics to hard-to-reach areas, and ensured access to clean water by repairing 600 water pumps in the region.

In Oromia, we responded to a cholera outbreak and donated medical supplies.

Calling for accountability for the death of our colleagues

On 24 June 2021, our colleagues María Hernández Matas, Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael and Yohannes Halefom Reda were brutally and intentionally killed, while clearly identified as humanitarian workers, in Tigray. After extensive engagement with the Ethiopian authorities, we still do not have any credible answers regarding what happened to our colleagues. MSF will keep pursuing accountability for this incident, with the hope that this will help improve the safety of humanitarian workers in Ethiopia.

*OCHA: Ethiopia – Situation Report, 1 Feb 2024:


in 2023
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