Healthy First, Then Wealthy



Ethiopia makes progress in ending preventable child deaths

As Hans Rosling, a professor of Global Health and statistics guru made famous by the Ted Conference, likes to remind us “health cannot be bought at the supermarket.” Health is an investment and before getting wealthy, a country must first become healthy.

Today, over 80 governments and NGOS met in Washington DC at the invitation of Ethiopia, India and the United States, in collaboration with UNICEF, to pledge their support for “A promise Renewed”, a global effort to save children’s lives and accelerate progress in ending preventable deaths. If you missed the talks, just take a few minutes to watch this video which provides compelling evidence that saving lives is not a hard task if we give the poorest people access to healthcare and safe water.

An Ethiopian farmer shares his hope that his 2-year-old son will become a scientist or a doctor and an asset for his country now that his family has access to free health care (and vaccines in particular). In Ethiopia, according to this UNICEF report, 271,000 children under age 5 died in 2010, pneumonia and diarrhea causing more than a third of these deaths. But the country is working hard to bring care to new mothers: 34,000 “health extension workers” have been trained and send out to rural areas to educate the population and provide free health care to pregnant women and children. Today, Ethiopia is committing to bring down the child mortality rate to fewer than 20 deaths per 1000 live births by 2035.

In the words of USAID Administrator Rajiv Shad, “development can be full of problems we have few ways to solves but helping a child reach their 5th birthday isn’t one of them. It is not a question of whether the world can end preventable child deaths; it is a question of whether we will.”

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