Australia supporting a healthy Ethiopia

Australia is investing in health programs in Ethiopia that will result in more trained health workers, increased rates of immunisation and a reduction in maternal and infant deaths.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Ethiopian Minister for Health, Dr Tedros Adhanom, today signed a new bilateral agreement that includes $43 million over four years to strengthen national health programs in the country.

'Australia's support will deliver real results to the people of Ethiopia,' Mr Rudd said.

'It will help to increase the number of trained midwives from 2002 to 8635, and increase the number of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants from 18 to 62 per cent.'

Through Australia's investment maternal mortality is expected to drop from 590 to 267 deaths per 100,000 live births and infant deaths to reduce from 59 to 31 per 1000 live births. It will also help measles immunisation reach 90 per cent of the population.

'This work will build on Ethiopia's impressive health gains made since 2005, and help keep the country on track to meet their millennium development goal targets for child health,' Mr Rudd said.

Preliminary findings from the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey show that infant mortality has already decreased by 23 per cent from 77 to 59 deaths per 1000 births. Under-five mortality rates have decreased by 28 per cent from 123 to 88 per 1000 births, and the use of contraceptives has nearly doubled from 15 to 29 per cent.