Ethiopia Recruits Health Army to Combat Child Mortality, Malnutrition

Dr. Monica Thallinger treats a severely malnourished child at the Phase Two emergency ward of the Doctors Without Borders health clinic at Hilaweyn refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia

Peter Heinlein, VOA  | Addis Ababa

Ethiopia is organizing what it calls a Health Development Army aimed at lowering child mortality rates and improving the quality of care in rural areas where 85 percent of the population lives. The announcement came at an event marking  progress in reducing malnutrition, one of the Horn of Africa’s biggest child killers.

The 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey reports nearly nine percent of the country’s children die before their fifth birthday.  Minister of State for Health Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu says while that figure is high, it is less than half of what it was 20 years ago.

Speaking Friday at an event to celebrate the drop in child mortality and malnutrition rates, Dr. Keseteberhan said a key factor has been establishment of a network of rural “health extension” posts.

Read more