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Partnership Seeks to Strengthen Ethiopian Public Health System
Date:7/14/2008

WASHINGTON, July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $50 million cooperative agreement to U.S.-based Pathfinder International to fund a five-year program that will make sustainable improvements to key family health services and planning in Ethiopia.

The project will work in selected districts at national, regional, district and community levels to improve maternal, newborn and child health. It will operate largely in support of Ethiopia's health extension program, training outreach workers to make services better and more available. The project will undertake efforts to provide child health services including immunization, improved access to nutrition and clean water, vitamin A distribution, treatment of diarrheal disease and pneumonia, and education on safe birthing practices and newborn care.

The program will also address a lack of family planning services in Ethiopia--apparent from the U.S.-based Demographic and Health Survey, which is widely considered the gold standard for health data in Ethiopia and many countries around the world. The survey indicates that the average Ethiopian man or woman would prefer to have 4.0 children, while the actual average is 5.4. Furthermore, 34 percent of married women in Ethiopia want to wait at least two years between births or stop childbearing entirely, but are not using contraception. The new program will respond to this need by training nurses and community workers on family planning methods and by offering a range of contraceptives.

In addition to supporting better maternal, newborn and child health across the country, the program also aims to ease population growth rates, and thereby alleviate the economic strain on Ethiopian families and a dwindling food supply.

For more information about USAID and its programs in Ethiopia, visit http://www.usaid.gov.

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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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