Improvements to child and maternal health in Ethiopia
17 July, 2012
Parliamentary Secretary Marles discussing maternal and child health care with staff at the Ambisso Health Centre in Degem Woreda, which is supported by Australian funding.
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles met front-line health workers in the Degem district of Oromia during his visit to Ethiopia on Saturday, 14 July.
'I was pleased to see how Australia’s support is helping the people of Ethiopia and the substantial contribution we are making to improvements to child and maternal health in the region,' Mr Marles said.
Australia is supporting African governments to improve their progress against Millennium Development Goals (MDG), particularly as many African countries are off-track on two important MDG targets—to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for around half of all deaths of children under five in the developing world, while African women face a one in 22 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth.
Ethiopia, however, has made substantial improvements in the health sector and is now on track to meet its MDG targets for child health. A report of the 2011 independent Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) shows infant deaths have decreased by 23 per cent, under-five deaths have decreased by 28 per cent and the number of women using contraceptives has doubled.
These are significant developments. For example, a recent study has shown that improved access to contraception for women in developing countries could reduce global maternal deaths by nearly one third.
'We are seeing more women and babies surviving childbirth and greater rates of immunisation of children. There’s been a significant increase in the number of community health workers trained and public health messages are being more effectively delivered,' said Mr Marles.
Australia is providing $45 million over four years to support efforts to strengthen national health programs in Ethiopia. This is part of a five-year $140 million Australia–Africa Maternal and Child Health Initiative in Eastern Africa.
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Media Release: Australia supports health improvements in Ethiopia (external website)
Last Reviewed: 17 July, 2012