Ethiopia Makes Little Progress in Reducing Stunting, Neonatal Mortality

ADDIS ABABA – The rate of early child mortality and stunting remain health challenges in Ethiopia as a new survey shows no or little progress in reducing the two over the past five years.

Ministry of Health Officials released the outcome of the 2019 Ethiopia Mini Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) preliminary report on Tuesday.

According to the survey, the rate of neonatal mortality has increased by one percent with the survey showing an increase from 29 percent in 2016 to 30 percent in 2019.

Childhood stunting also remains a major challenge with the rate decreasing by only one percent, according to the DHS, from 38 in 2016 to 37 in 2019.

The survey, which has been conducted for three months from March to June, reveals the up-to-date estimates of key health indicators.

It shows the country has shown improvement in the majority of the indicators, including family planning, maternal care and in reducing child mortality rate.

The survey says the inclusive health service coverage has increased for both urban and rural societies as well as immunization.

The family planning service coverage increased from 36% to 41%, maternal care 62% to 74%, and child mortality declined from 67% to 55% and child immunization (Penta 3) from 53% to 61% between 2016 and now.
Over the past five years, giving birth inside health facilities has increased from 26 percent in 2016 to 48 percent this year.

“The results show that the national health service provision is demonstrating very promising results,” said Dr. Amir Aman, minister of health, told reporters on Tuesday.

The minister said the comprehensive details of the Demographic and health survey will be announced in September.

By Sisay Sahlu

Photo Caption: A mother holds the foot of her premature baby. Prematurity is the most common cause of neonatal death globally. (UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Pudlowski)