The state of Ethiopia through a Demographic and Health Survey

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Pro. Yifiru Berhane, Minister of Heath and Biratu Yigezu, Director General of the Central Statistics Agency

One in every 15 children in Ethiopia will not make it to their fifth birthday, according to the newly released 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS). According to the survey that was conducted by the Central Statistics Agency (CSA), infants that are born less than two years after a previous birth have a higher under 5 mortality rate.

Comparing statistics for different regions, the survey also shows that more children in rural areas are likely to die than in urban areas. For example, Addis Ababa experiences 39 deaths per 1,000 live births while in Afar, it is 125 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Maternal health has also shown slow progress; findings show that only 26 percent of birth occurs in a health facility while 73 percent of birth occurs at home. The pregnancy related mortality ratio for Ethiopia stands at 551 death per 100,000 live births, making it one of the highest rates globally.

The survey also measured children’s nutritional status by comparing heights and weight measurements against international reference standards. Findings show that nearly 4 in 10 or 38 percent of children under five are stunted which is an indication of chronic under-nutrition.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stunting in early life – particularly in the first 1000 days from conception until the age of two – impaired growth has adverse functional consequences on the child.

Some of those consequences include poor cognition and educational performance, low adult wages, lost productivity and, when accompanied by excessive weight gain later in childhood, an increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases in adult life.

In rural area, only 57 percent or households have access to improved source of water; improved source refers to piped water, public taps, standpipes, tube wells, boreholes, protected dug wells and springs, and rainwater. Findings also show that only 26 percent of Ethiopian households have electricity.

Looking at education and rate of literacy, the survey shows that nearly half of women; 48 percent and 28 percent of men, both aged 15 to 49 are uneducated. About 1 in 10 women and 7 in 10 men are literate.

Unbelievably, the report further revealed that 63 percent of women and 28 percent of men agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife for at least one of the following ridiculous reasons; if she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, or refuses to have sex with him.