Country with high mortality

Country with high mortality


There are countries in the world whose mortality rates are a bit higher in comparison to others, such as the first world countries. For this reason, it is possible to insinuate that the mortality rate in a country is subject to a number of factors that are preventable. In Ethiopia, for instance, some of the causes that are likely to lead to child deaths include preventable illnesses such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea, neonatal infections among other causes. At one point in time, Ethiopia came into the international realm due to war, poverty and suffering that was a result of famine. On the other hand, there is a possibility of arguing that the high mortality might be due to the scarcity of health workers, nurses included. According to Deussom (2012), the health worker to residents ratio in Ethiopia is 0.84 to 1000, which is below the recommended 2.3 per 1000 World Health Organization ratio. This paper looks into some of the factors that are likely to lead to the high mortality rates in Ethiopia, focusing on the country’s health worker situation, the economy, health regulatory organizations working within the country, as well as other factors that increase the mortality rates in the region (Deussom, 2012).

Ethiopia is one of the countries near the coastline in north side of east Africa, whose specific location is at the horn of the continent. Countries that border Ethiopia include Sudan, which is to the west, Djibouti and Somalia to the east and Kenya to the south. Eritrea also borders the country to the northeastern side. With an estimated population of above 90 million individuals by the year 2012, it is possible to determine that a majority of the people that reside in the area subscribe to the Islamic religion (Bureau of African affairs, 2013). This population represents about 1.23 percent of the total population in the world. This population is spatially distributed, with an age structure that comprises young people as the majority. An approximation of the average age in the country is 17 years old (World Bank, 2012).

With the provisions of the 1994 constitution, the president of Ethiopia is the head of state, whereas the prime minister is responsible for heading the government. Additionally, the parliamentary system in the country is a bicameral system, with the House of Federation representatives elected by the House of People’s Representatives. However, the people popularly elect the House of People’s Representative members. Administratively, it is possible to determine that the division in the country consists of nine regions that are ethnically based, which also include Dire Dawa and the capital, the self-governing administrations (World Bank, 2012).

Economically, it is possible to determine that the country is poor, mainly depending on agriculture, which employs about 80 percent of the working individuals. The industrial sector of the economy is mainly run by the state, with restrictions to processing agricultural products. On the other hand, the transportation network in the country is at a miserable state, with only a single railway line connecting Addis Ababa to Djibouti. With some of its leading trade partners being the United States, China among other nations, various studies indicate that the value of its imports, in comparison to the exports is higher. Some of its main exports are inclusive of khat, oilseeds, coffee among other items, which are mainly agricultural. With all these considerations, it is possible to determine that economic situation in the country is bad (World Bank, 2012).

The state of health in Ethiopia

When looking at the health status in Ethiopia, it is possible to determine that some of the major health problems that affect the residents are preventable. The diseases affecting these residents are mainly communicable diseases, as well as nutritional disorders. However, a number of organizations, mainly those that focus on health issues, have been making major progress towards improving the health status of the residents in the country. Despite this consideration, a number of health studies conducted in the region indicate that the population in Ethiopia still faces high mortality rates, with the health status remaining relatively poor. The spread of diseases in the country is determined by a couple of factors, which are inclusive of a generally low education status, a poor economy and rapid population growth among other contributors (World Bank, 2012).

Since most of the diseases affecting the residents of the region are preventable, it is possible to determine that the low educational status of the people is a marker that has a significant influence on the spread of diseases. Coupled with the fact that a majority of the residents are poor, many of the residents in the area are not keen on seeking medical attention unless the medical situation in an individual worsens. Despite the poverty and education level of the people in the country, some of the other factors that contribute to their poor health status include the general poor performance of the country’s economy, as well as the rapid population growth rate, which exerts a lot of pressure to the existing health institutions (World Bank, 2012).

It would be possible to measure the total burden of diseases in the country by looking at the premature deaths that occur in the region.

Statistics indicate that in a year, the country witnesses close to 350 deaths per 1000 people, which is higher in comparison to some of the countries bordering it. The largest burden emanates from maternal and pre-natal conditions, nutritional deficiency, malaria, dirrahoea and acute respiratory problems among others. With this indication, it is possible to determine that some of the factors worsening the situation include poor financing systems that are meant to take care of the worker salary, including finances for the operations of the medical institutions (Morrison and Brundage, 2012). On the other hand, the country is experiencing a high level of inadequacy in the number of medical workers that can be able to take care of the medical needs of the patients. The other problem that the residents in the region face includes a couple of violent incidences, from which a large number of people might end up with serious injuries, some even leading to death. Consequently, the ineffective transport policies might be contributory factors that lead to the many deaths that occur due to road accidents.

Health care delivery system in Ethiopia

The health care delivery system in the country id decentralized, with the federal divisions controlling the nine administrative regions. The delivery system is inclusive of contributors from the government departments, as well as a number of non-governmental institutions. Some of the health facilities in the region include private clinics, hospitals, health centers and stations. Despite these numbers, a number of studies suggest that non-governmental organizations have been instrumental in developing the health care delivery infrastructure in the country. On the other hand, the governmental input has been decreasing over time, with most of the health stations decreasing over time. Included in some of the non-governmental organizations that offer a health care service is the Ethiopian Nurses Association, whose mandate is to improve the health situation in the country. The objectives that the association seeks to fulfill include the development of nursing services standardized and appropriate for Ethiopia. The association also seeks to stand by the rights of nurses as well as clients that seek their services.

It is possible to determine that the human resource personnel, who include the nurses and doctors in the country, do not have the capacity to fulfill the needs of the residents in the region adequately. Statistics indicate that, as at 2011, the number of nurses available to take care of the needs of the population was only 20,000. This number, in comparison to the total population was acutely inadequate to serve the needs of the residents, making it difficult to provide quality health care services (Ethiopiaforums, 2011). However, it is possible to determine that the education system or training that the nurses go through improves their capability of handling the medical cases that they come across. However, the nurses have to register with the Ethiopian Nursing Association, which is the umbrella body that takes care of the nursing requirements in the region.

Health priorities in Ethiopia

The government of Ethiopia has outlined a number of health priorities whose main objective is to improve the health conditions of the nation, which include the generation of knowledge through conducting a number of studies on public health. With this provision, it would be possible for the government, as well as the non-governmental health institutions to find ways that would be vital for improving the overall health situation in the country. One of the ways that can possibly ensure the overall improvement of the health situation in the country includes the development of a health plan, HSDP IV plan, which would ensure improvements of the health situation in the country (Morrison and Brundage, 2012). Even though the implementation of the plan is to be done in phases, the overall priority is to achieve the minimum health care delivery capacity, which requires that all the medical personnel should have the capability of delivery. This means that the ministry of health in the country, in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations should ensure that the middle-level and junior staff be equipped with skills that are likely to drive the operations forward. With this provision, it is possible to determine that different programs have to be taken care of at different levels; with the federal ministry of health no longer has the mandate to cover malaria and HIV/AIDS programs.


Ethiopia, as one of the countries in the Sub-Saharan region in Africa, is one of the most populous countries in east and central Africa, which has a high mortality rate. The high mortality rate is subject to a number of factors that include poverty, low education levels, as well as very few health workers in comparison to the population that they are meant to serve. With this indication, it is possible to insinuate that the country requires a high level of health infrastructure development, among other considerations that will improve the overall health situation in the country. Despite the required health infrastructure improvement, the country needs to improve its economy, which might be a contributory factor that is likely to intensify health development programs, thereby improving the overall health situation of the people of Ethiopia.


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