Ethiopia has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths and disabilities in the world. Women have a one-in-52 chance of dying from childbirth-related causes each year. Every year, more than 257,000 children under the age of five die and 120,000 die in the neonatal period. More than 60 percent of infant and 40 percent of under-five deaths in Ethiopia are neonatal deaths. We work with the Ethiopian government to reduce maternal, neonatal, and child mortality rates. We support integrated packages of evidence-based interventions delivered across a continuum of care at family, community and facility levels by increasing availability of services like skilled birth attendance and essential newborn care/treatment—especially to underserved populations.
Our achievements to benefit Ethiopian women and children include the expansion of proven interventions such as a comprehensive maternal health package through the health extension program; roll-out of basic obstetric and newborn care, essential newborn care, integrated management of neonatal and childhood illnesses, and integrated community case management of childhood illnesses including treatment of neonatal sepsis; and increased coverage of skilled birth attendance, immunizations, early identification, and care and treatment of sick children.
With malaria deaths rebounding worldwide, a pilot program testing a new and fiercely debated malaria vaccine began on Tuesday in Malawi.
Dr. Katherine O’Brien, the World Health Organization’s director of immunization, called the rollout “a historic moment in the fight against malaria,” and said the testing will soon expand to malarious regions of Ghana and Kenya.
But the vaccine, known as RTS,S, or Mosquirix, has been in development by GSK, the former GlaxoSmithKline, for more than 30 years, and it has serious drawbacks that have led some experts to argue that it does not work well enough to spend millions of dollars pursuing.
Malaria kills about 450,000 people a year, most of them young African children. Over the last 15 years, the death rate has been reduced by more than half through extensive, donor-funded efforts to hand out free mosquito nets, spray homes with insecticide and treat people with a new generation of medicines.