$45mln goes to support Ethiopia’s health sector
Australia will quadruple its annual aid to Africa to one billion Australian dollars by 2015, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Thursday in Addis Ababa city which is hosting the 18th Summit of the African Union.
Since November 2007 the Australian government under Rudd as a Prime Minister promised new aid commitments aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and increasing official development assistance to 0.5 per cent of the country’s Gross National Income by 2015.
Now Foreign Affairs Minister Rudd said they are keeping the promise and are raising aid from a little over 100 million five years ago to about 400 million AUD. The current 400 million will increase to one billion AUD by 2015, according to Rudd.
Rudd and Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr Tedros Adhanom, on Thursday inaugurated an Australian chancery project in Addis Ababa as bilateral ties between the two revamps with Australia pledging to scale up its support across the continent. Shortly after inaugurating the chancery which will house Australia’s mission to Ethiopia, Africa Union and Djibouti, the two officials signed a new bilateral agreement.
Under the new agreement Australia will disburse 43 million dollars to Ethiopia over four years to support the country’s health sector struggling to meet the Millennium Development Sector particularly in cutting maternal deaths. Another 2 million dollars in aid was extended to Ethiopia earlier, totaling the support to 45 million dollars.
“Australia’s support will deliver real results to the people of Ethiopia,” Rudd said. “It will help increase the number of trained midwives from 2,002 to 8,635, and increase the number of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants from 18 to 62 per cent.”
Health Minister Dr Tedros Adhanom said on his part, he has been impressed by ‘how quickly’ Australia moved and materialized the cooperation pledge extended a year ago and he says this occurred despite the country not having a permanent chancery in Addis Ababa.
“We are also pleased with the quality of the aid which is flexible and has appreciated the country’s ownership. We will be accountable to the results we say we will achieve,” said Dr Tedros during the agreement signing ceremony at Hilton Addis Hotel which also hosts Australia’s mission temporary chancery.
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 1,000 live births. It will also help measles immunization reach 90 per cent of the population, said a statement the two sides issued on Thursday.