Survival and health
Expanding access and improving health care quality and standards in Ethiopia
While Ethiopia has made significant progress in reducing maternal and under-five mortality and combating HIV, malaria and other diseases, significant challenges remain. This includes a struggling health system, including underfunded health services, not enough skilled or specialized health care providers, and lack of investment in adolescent, maternal and newborn health.
Much also remains to be done to build a resilient health system amidst multiple humanitarian and climate crises.
Evidence shows that maternal and child deaths have been in decline since 2000. Yet, maternal and newborn mortality remain unacceptably high. Lack of access to quality antenatal, obstetric and postnatal health services, especially in rural areas, hampers further progress in reducing maternal deaths. Reducing newborn deaths within the first 28 days remains a challenge.
Survival and health in numbers
- Maternal mortality: 1 in 267 women will die of pregnancy related causes.
- Under-5 child mortality: 1 in 20 children will die before reaching the age of 5.
- Infant mortality: 1 in 28 infants will die before reaching 1 year old.
- Neonatal mortality: 1 in 38 newborns will die within their first 4 weeks of life.
- Routine immunization: An estimated 1.1 million children in Ethiopia are missing out on lifesaving vaccines.
- Antenatal care coverage: 69 per cent of women in Ethiopia had at least four (recommended) ANC visits during their last pregnancy, while 26 per cent of women had no ANC visits.
- Skilled birth attendance coverage/postnatal care: Skilled birth attendance increased from 63 per cent in 2021 to 68 per cent in 2022, while early post natal care slightly declined from 84 per cent in 2021 to 81 per cent in 2022.
- HIV: An estimated 620,000 Ethiopian adults and children are living with HIV with a prevalence rate of 0.9 per cent for people aged 15 to 49 years.
With the Government and partners, UNICEF is helping women and children receive essential medical care, increasing the number of hospitals with neonatal intensive care units, procuring vaccines for deadly diseases like measles, cholera, polio, and COVID-19, training health workers and providing equipment and medicine for health posts, clinics and hospitals.
Overall, UNICEF’s aim is to support the Government on its pathway to providing quality, affordable and universal healthcare for every child and women in Ethiopia. This includes supporting health extension workers and broader primary health care to deliver lifesaving health, immunization, and nutrition services in rural and remote areas; and working with the Government to improve access to health supplies, vaccine cold chain, training for health professionals, data collection and uptake of community insurance schemes.
UNICEF works with the community, including women’s networks, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations and local religious, traditional leaders and other influencers, to address harmful traditional beliefs and negative social norms. This includes working to support vaccine demand through health workers, radio and TV.
Through conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF is on the ground before, during and after emergencies to restore and maintain lifesaving health services for every child. We also work to build the capacity of the Government and partners to identify gaps and risks and improve emergency preparedness, response, recovery and resilience.