Provision of effective clinical services to patients in need is an essential function of the Ethiopian health care delivery system. Clinical diagnostic and treatment services at different levels of the health system can reduce morbidity, mortality, and complications among people suffering from infectious and non-infectious diseases. It also allows prevention of disease transmission among susceptible population groups by reducing the number of infectious human hosts.
The health system in ONRS provides clinical services at health post, health center, and hospital levels which are linked to each other through a referral system. Currently there are 6,519 Health Posts, 1,320 Health Centers, and 53 hospitals actively providing primary, secondary, and tertiary level clinical services in the public health system. Moreover, there are additional parastatal, private-for-profit, and private-for-not profit clinics and hospitals providing clinical services under the regulatory framework of the health sector. The region has recognized the multifaceted nature of medical conditions and thus is moving towards a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare. Health facilities at all levels of the health system are organized in a way that allows them to give the right care and treatment at their respective standards which requires professionals from different health and health-related disciplines.
Health seeking behavior has significantly improved during the 2007EFY. Outpatient visit per capita has increased from 3.5 per person per year in 2006EC to 4.3 per person per year in 2007EC making more than 7% increase in utilization of modern healthcare. Infectious diseases are still the major causes of morbidity in ONRS. However, the relative importance of non-infectious conditions is also increasing from time to time. Trauma for example is the fifth most common cause of OPD visit in 2007EFY.