Authorities in Ethiopia's health sector are working to overcome serious challenges and a chronic shortage of resources.
Ethiopia has one of the highest newborn infant mortality rates in the world. One in 6 children dies a preventable death before they reach the age of 5. Acute lack of health care means that Ethiopians of all ages die of common illnesses at a very high rate. One result: the life expectancy of the average Ethiopian is only 41 years.
Since 1997, the Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative has helped to address these alarming health issues through a landmark partnership between the Government of Ethiopia, 7 Ethiopian universities, 21 Ethiopian hospitals, the non-governmental U.S.-based Carter Center, and the United States Agency for International Development.
The initiative is truly making a difference in the delivery of health care in Ethiopia. By enhancing the quality of pre-service training for health sector workers, more and more Ethiopians are receiving better health care services.
The Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative helps Ethiopians determine the best way to deliver public health care to their country, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach common in other parts of Africa. International experts work alongside Ethiopian teaching staff at the University of Gondar, Defense College of Health Sciences, Haramaya University, Hawassa University, Mekelle University, Jimma University, and Addis Ababa University to conduct training workshops and seminars to enhance faculty skills and assist in developing learning materials based on Ethiopian experience. The Initiative also provides computers, anatomical models, and supplies, such as stethoscopes and gloves.
The program has made major progress: more than half a million copies of approximately 230 health learning materials have been produced, and more than 8,500 students have graduated from universities assisted by the Ethiopian Public Health Training Initiative since its inception. Already, these efforts have improved health care delivery for 75 million rural Ethiopians.
"Patients can now see health officers regularly, and many complicated cases can be managed in our health centers instead of having to transport patients to hospitals," said Rahel Terefe Bogef, a health officer trained by the Initiative.
The United States is committed to working with the Government of Ethiopia to help provide better health care for all the people of Ethiopia.