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Ethiopia Praised for 67 Percent Drop in Child Deaths

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

The United Nations Children's Fund is praising Ethiopia for reaching one of the Millennium Development Goals. UNICEF officials say Ethiopia has reduced child deaths by more than two-thirds. Between 1990 and 2012, Ethiopia reported a 67 percent drop in the number of children dying before the age of five.

Ethiopia's minister of health, Kesetebirhan Admasu, says his country has committed to end all preventable child deaths in a generation by 2035. Diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria are the leading causes of death among children in Ethiopia. In 1990, the country's death rate for children under five was one of the highest in the world. The death rate has dropped from 204 deaths for every 1,000 births to 68 deaths per thousand births. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian children who might have died in earlier years now reach their fifth birthday.

Ethiopia is one of four African countries to have reached a Millennium Development Goal. The other three are Liberia, Malawi and Tanzania. One reason for Ethiopia's success is its Health Extension Program. The program employed 38,000 people to bring health care services to a large part of the rural population.

Peter Salama is UNICEF's representative for Ethiopia. He says Ethiopia's plan can serve as an example. He says delegations from Togo, Guinea and Namibia have come to study the Health Extension Program. The United Nations approved the Millennium Development Goals in 2001. The goals were meant to get countries to pay more attention to issues such as fighting extreme poverty. Progress on the goal of reducing child deaths is slow in most countries. Only 13 of 61 countries are in a position to meet it.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.

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