Newsday Tuesday – Lowering Child Mortality in Ethiopia


January 14, 2014

In a small village in eastern Ethiopia, Foos Muhumed Gudaal works in a simple clinic, just two rooms (one of which is where she lives). Without electricity or lights, it is not a high-tech facility, but this rural clinic is exactly the kind of health care center that is making a significant difference for thousands of people.

Ethiopia used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world. In the last two decades, however, the survival rate has improved by about 60 percent. Much of this improvement is due to a government-implemented program employing about 35,000 rural health extension workers, like Gudaal, who have taken a one-year training program and earn about $35 per month.

Gudaal, and other health extension workers like her, treat diseases often faced by children in Ethiopia, like malaria, makes sure that local children are up-to-date on their vaccines. These health workers also treat 300,000 children each year for severe malnutrition.

Peter Salama, director of UNICEF in Ethiopia, says that the health extension program is sustainable, and is vital to making sure children receive the care they need.

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Read and/or listen to the NPR piece to learn more about the success of Ethiopia’s Health Extension Program.

Image via NPR from original article: Jason Beaubien/NPR

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