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The population of Ethiopia is around 92 million.
Most of the country’s people live in very rural areas rather than big cities.
Work in Mekedonia
Wings of Healing supports Mekedonia, a shelter for the disabled and the ex homeless in Addis. The compound houses 2600 physically or mentally disabled. Since August 2019, Wings of Healing provides fruits for all residents once a week. WOH provided as well enough meat for all the residents for Christmas and soon it will provide for Easter 2020. 300 residents have been screened for diabetes. WOH provides insulin and oral anti diabetic treatment. The members of WOH also sponsors 15 orphans through Mary Joy, an Ethiopian NGO.
The low population density makes it extremely difficult to provide adequate healthcare. Often people live over 100km from the nearest hospital. This problem is compounded by the poor transport links and seasonal weather conditions.
Often people walk or are carried for several days to reach medical help if there is an emergency. This is ruinous to the health of the most vulnerable, but we can improve the situation.
Ethiopia has less than 2000 doctors to service the whole population.
The majority of these work within the large cities, most in the capital, Addis Ababa. There are 52 gynaecologists and 17 anaesthetists for 92 million people. There are a number of medical schools within the country training new doctors. However 95% of medical graduates leave the country after finishing their degree. The UK has over 200,000 doctors currently practising, serving a smaller population of around 62 million.
- Population (million)
- Doctors (million)
Ethiopia’s maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. It currently stands at 670 per 100,000.
This means that the lifetime risk of an Ethiopian women dying in childbirth is 1 in 40. The lifetime risk for a woman in the UK is 1 in 4700. The leading cause of death is haemorrhage (loss of blood). Infant mortality rates are also amongst the highest in the world.
The main problem is access to medical services. The majority of Ethiopian women give birth at home in rural areas without medical help or support. In fact only 6% of Ethiopian women have any kind of skilled attendant at the birth of their baby. Very few have access to any kind of antenatal care. There are just 1500 midwives working within the country and, like doctors, they operate mainly in the large cities. Often women are supported by a ‘Traditional Birth Attendant’ but they rarely have any form of medical training.
Obstructed labour is a big problem in Ethiopia and many African countries.
This is when the baby is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. Women can be in labour for many days. If the labour is prolonged women are forced to walk to the nearest hospital which can be up to 100km away. When they arrive the baby has generally died and the woman has become extremely unwell with dehydration and infection.
Obstructed labour is commonly associated with development of an obstetric fistula. This is an abnormal connection between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum. It results in faecal and urinary incontinence. Women who develop this problem are socially excluded and often abandoned by their husbands.