Who Are We?

IPRH in Ethiopia

The International Partnership for Reproductive Health was established to improve the reproductive health and wellness of women in Ethiopia, including those with disabilities. The organization is dedicated to working in partnership with Ethiopian medical professionals.

We are actively engaged in supporting community based healthcare services, by providing information, training, medical equipment, medical supplies, and sustainable delivery of services.

IPRH believes that effective advocacy for reproductive healthcare for women requires unity of purpose and long-term commitment at all levels. International partnerships encourage a high degree of accountability, effectiveness and enhance the mobilization of resources to address critical shortages in healthcare delivery systems.

History of IPRH


In 2007, Dr. Sharon Ransom was invited to work at a new hospital in Adama, Ethiopia, Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital. She developed The International Partnership for Reproductive Health to continue the work and to focus on cervical cancer screening.


More than 100 medical professionals, including the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department faculty of Addis Ababa University, attended cervical cancer seminars sponsored by IPRH. Significant concerns expressed by conference participants included: 1) How to motivate women to actively seek screening and preventative care; 2) the need to develop a national tumor registry; 3) How to alleviate stress imposed on the healthcare system by the attrition of physicians in the public sector.


In 2009, in response to these and other challenges faced by the Ethiopian healthcare system, donations of equipment including colposcopes, specula, biopsy instruments, and a LORAD mammography unit were procured from corporate and private donors.

Additionally, the Donor/Donee Agreement was drafted and implemented by IPRH and Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital.

In 2009, Dr. Ransom tutored four non-physician healthcare workers at Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital. Using equipment and supplies provided Becton-Dickenson and Co. and Cooper Surgical Corporation introduced the basics of Pap smear taking and colposcopy. Each participant successfully completed the weeklong course, and was awarded certificates. During training, 30+ patients were successfully screened.

Predicated on the success of this small trial program, IPRH sought to develop the concept of a donor supported cervical cancer screening and treatment center housed within Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital. The successful implementation of this strategy would involve medical professionals working in the region of Adama, Ethiopia.


In 2010, Dr. Ransom and  Professor Peter Gooch developed the first IPRH Concept Paper with the stated goal of developing a Center of Excellence for cervical cancer screening in Ethiopia.

In March of 2010, IPRH was able to package and ship 3 additional colposcopes, medical textbooks, and supplies with the assistance of the Rift Valley Transportation Company, an Ethiopian owned American-based organization.


On September 2nd 2011, the International Partnership for Reproductive Health (IPRH) was honored to participate in the First Global Summit for Women’s Cancer in Africa. Dr. Sharon Ransom presented a presentation entitled “Every Woman Matters”. The conference was organized by Princess Nikky  Onyeri of Nigeria and attended by  representatives of  the first ladies of Ghana, Swaziland, Niger, South Africa, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Cameroon. Industry representatives from Merck, Qiagen, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, and Novartis were in attendance, as were representatives from Axios International, The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), the America Cancer Society, the Ethiopian Cancer Society, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).


IPRH moved its headquarters from Dayton, Ohio to Bryan, Ohio in August of 2012. Our work was focused on creating internal documents to address critical strategies for our American-based organization and its work in Ethiopia.

2013 -2014

IPRH returned to Ethiopia to conduct a successful cervical cancer screening initiative in collaboration with Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital. Prior to our departure from Bryan, Ohio, IPRH was able to obtain an offer from Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers’ CEO, Mr. Phil Ennen to form a Sister Hospital agreement with Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital. Mr. Moges Alemu, President, and his son, Dawit Moges, CEO of Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital were pleased to accept the offer.

While at Sister Aklesia Hospital, IPRH was very fortunate to work with professional nurses, Sister Hiwot, Sister Nuniyat and with Dr. Kemal Nurie. Our work included teaching cervical cancer screening,use of the colposcopy equipment and teaching infertility evaluation.

IPRH partnered with Yemesrach Abeje, MPH, to collect qualitative data on beliefs and perceptions of cervical cancer screening and infertility from men and women.

IPRH was also fortunate to meet and speak with Dr. Lia Tadesse, Vice-Provost of research at St. Paul’s Millennium Hospital and Medical College.


IPRH will focus on fund raising to acquire the essential equipment to sustain an on-going presence at SAMH, as well as, provide critical materials to provide care for women with disabilities. Additionally, IPRH has an opportunity to participate in research focused on HPV.

IPRH will evaluate and refine its cervical cancer screening and treatment clinics for women with disabilities, creation of culturally sensitive educational programs, and on-site counselling.

Cervical Cancer Statistics

Cervical Cancer in the United States

Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.1 For more information, visit HPV-Associated Cervical Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity.

In 2011 (the most recent year numbers are available)—

  • 12,109 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer.*2
  • 4,092 women in the United States died from cervical cancer.*2

*Incidence counts cover about 99% of the U.S. population; death counts cover about 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution when comparing incidence and death counts.


1National Institutes of Health. Cervical Cancer. NIH Consensus Statement. 1996;14(1):1–38.

2U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2011 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2014.

Cervical Cancer in Ethiopia

Cervical cancer mortality (estimates are based on national incidence estimates):

Prevalence of cervical cancer: 17,362

Ethiopia is one of 57 countries considered to have a healthcare workforce crisis.

1 doctor per 48,451 people

1 nurse per 57,350 people

In 2010, it was estimated that 20.9 million women were at risk of developing cervical cancer. The estimated number of cases was 4,648. The estimated number of deaths was 3,235.