Children in the country are greatly affected by this problem. Around 47 percent of children below 5 suffer from moderate to severe growth issues as well as from being underweight and the country has a high child mortality rate because of infections, diseases, and malnutrition. Due to poor health, as well as the inaccessibility of healthcare and medical facilities, children sometimes die unnecessarily.
Photo: U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa
The healthcare system is also challenged by the high incidence of disease, which includes everything from malaria, cholera, and tuberculosis to HIV and AIDS, and issues related to female circumcision and giving birth at a young age. Health clinics and facilities must also deal with high rates of diseases related to poor water quality and sanitation.
Ethiopians may be unable to seek medical attention due to the cost of healthcare services, lack of transportation, and fear of treatments and doctors caused by lack of education. The most commonly affected by these barriers are women, who still disproportionately carry the burden of health inequalities.
As a result of limited access to healthcare and an inability to deal with the prevalence of disease, the Ethiopian life expectancy is lower than the life expectancy in many other countries. Maternal and infant mortality rates are also very high.
The government is currently looking for ways to help solve the problems related to poor access to healthcare and medical facilities in Ethiopia. It is developing guidelines and programs designed to increase the production of crops and facilitate ease of access, not only to clinics, but to safe water supplies and schools too. Learn more about what’s being done to improve healthcare in Ethiopia.
The obstacles to accessing proper healthcare and medical facilities, as well as health education, include:
- The relative isolation of huge sections of the Ethiopian population from the modern sector
- Rampant illiteracy, which prevents the proper dissemination of information regarding modern health practices
- Low numbers of trained health personnel in comparison to the number of people who desperately need healthcare services, especially during periods of famine
- Lack of funds to ensure the equal distribution of healthcare and medical services
- The fact that getting to the closest healthcare service often takes several days by foot