US launches plan to curb Ethiopian population explosion

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The US has launched a US$ 50 million health plan, aimed at curbing Ethiopia’s population explosion through a series of schemes, including controlled hospital deliveries, to target some 43 million people.

The US International Agency for Development (USAID) is funding the five-year project, which it plans to implement through two American health agencies — the Pathfinder International and John Snow, Incorporation, a US embassy statement said.

Ethiopia is due to unveil its latest population census but the country’s official figures put the population at around 78 million people.

In the new plan, the US is financing around thousands of volunteers to help provide assistance to some 43 million Ethiopians through an elaborate health extension strategy, which will rollout to some 360 administrative districts in some six regional states.

“The new US$ 50 million programme health programme, which focuses on family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, will provide the lives of some 43 million Ethiopians in the next five years,” the USAID said in the statement Tuesday.

The plan aims to curb infant deaths and promote access to medical care for women in an effort to curb the number of mothers dying while giving birth.

According to the USAID, the Integrated Family Health Programme will support Health Extension Workers and volunteers in 360 woredas (divisions) of the Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationality and People’s Regions, as well as in pocket areas of Benishanguel–Gumuz Region.

Ethiopian Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who presided over the launch of the programme, emphasized the need for collaboration among all stakeholders supporting the Health Sector Development and the health extension programme.

The programme will help to improve health practices at the household and community level.

These are mostly targeted in such instances because community practices are bound to promote negative stereotypes, which ignore efforts to effectively implement targeted government interventions, experts say.

It will also help to improve availability and quality of health services, products and information while also strengthening key elements of the health system.

Officials say the programme will be crucial in realising the National Accelerated Expansion of Primary Health Care goals and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in health that the Government of Ethiopia is committed to.

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