Linkage between Productive Safety Net Program and Health Services in Somali Region, Ethiopia: Lessons, Challenges and Missed Opportunities

Author(s): Oladeji Olusola, Elmi Farah Abdifatah, Robins Ann

Background The fourth phase of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP 4) included a system of integrated health and nutrition service delivery for its categories of beneficiaries. This include the creation of a temporary direct support (TDS) category for clients that are pregnant and lactating women or caregivers of malnourished children, who are exempted from public work but expected to comply with co-responsibilities which counts towards their public works requirement. This is aimed at improving utilization of health and nutrition services. Methods The study was a cross-sectional descriptive survey and used qualitative methods, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions conducted in Gursum and Kebribayah woredas (districts) in Farfan zone of Somali region. The study populations were key actors involved in the linkages of PSNP with health services and the beneficiaries. The study assessed the implementation of the linkage between PSNP4 and health services. Result The implementing actors have adequate knowledge and their expected roles in the linkages between PSNP and the health services. The barriers to effective linkage were poor coordination among the implementing actors, poor monitoring and reporting of compliance with the co-responsibilities by development agents and health extension workers and poor adherence to co-responsibilities by the TDSs clients. Conclusion Considering the size of the program in the region which is targeted to the poor, the Productive Safety net program has the potential to improve access and utilization of health and nutrition services if more efforts are put to strengthen integration and linkages with the health sector and monitoring of compliance of co-responsibilities by the beneficiaries of the program.

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