The Fourth Demographic and Health Survey released on Tuesday revealed a falling maternal mortality rate over the past five years.
The report was released at Hilton Addis by Minister of Health Yifru Berhan (Prof.) and officials from the Central Statistics Agency. The survey assesses issues pertaining to demography and health from 2011 to 2016 across the country.
The report is compiled from a survey of 15,782 women, 12,688 men between the age of 15 to 49 and 16,650 households. The survey includes samples taken from all nine regional states and two city administrations.
Meanwhile, the survey shows that child mortality rate has shown a decline. Five years ago, 88 children per1,000 died before their fifth birthday. The latest report shows that the number has now decreased to 67 per1000.At this rate, 1 in every 15 Ethiopian children does not survive to their fifth birthday, reads the report.
Looking at the trend at regional level, Afar Regional State has the worst where 125 children died per 1,000. In contrast, Addis Ababa came at the top in comparison to other parts of the country with a rate of 39 deaths per 1000.
However, the latest report has come up with a disturbing finding. It indicated that the number of anemic children is increasing. From children within the range of 6 to 59 months, 57 percent are anemic.
Anemia is more common in children from the poorest households (68%) and those born to mothers with no education (58%). Anemia in children has increased since 2011 when 44% of children were anemic, reads the report.
This particular finding has to be looked carefully and in a detailed manner, said Yifru. Given this finding, we will work more on school feeding and distributing medicines in both schools and houses, he added.
The report also shows that there are improvements when it comes to female genital mutilation. According to the report, 65 percent of women between the ages of 15 to 49 years have been circumcised. In 2005, this figure was 77 percent.
Looking at the regions, Somali came at the top with 99 percent of its women circumcised while Tigray came last with only 24 percent. Moreover, Addis Ababa (54%) and Gambella (33 %) came third and second respectively.
As far as fertility rate is concerned, it has shown a slight decline. Currently, Ethiopian women give birth to an average of 4.6 children decreasing from 5.5 in 2000.
In contrast to the country-wide trend, less populous regions such as Tigray, Afar and Harari showed increase in fertility rates. The most populous regions, including Oromia, Amhara and the Southern Regional State experienced a downward trend.
Somali came at the top with 7.2 children per woman while Addis Ababa is last with 1.8 children.
The report has also indicated findings regarding family planning and nutrition. A collaborative effort by the government and donors, the survey cost a total of USD six million.
By Dawit Endeshaw