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Ethiopia sees largest decline in sub-Saharan fertility rates

A new study indicates that Ethiopia is experiencing the largest decline in fertility rates in sub-saharan Africa since the early 2000s.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the German and Austrian Embassies in Ethiopia, organized a dissemination session to go over the study entitled: “From Land of Famine to Land of Hope; Will Ethiopia Become a Model for an African Upswing?”
The longitudinal study showed that Ethiopian women are now giving birth to an average of 4.6 children per woman as opposed to 6.8 previously. It was conducted by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development with financial support from the Austrian Development Cooperation
Despite the decrease in the birth rate, the population still appears to be increasing at an alarming pace. The population continues at 2.6 percent annually. Life expectancy has risen to between 15 and 16 years since the 1990s. It is now 62 for men and 66 for women.
Addis Ababa has a unique a city-country divide with a 1.8 percent fertility rate difference. The capital residents have adopted more modern thinking around family planning, according to the report. The decline in fertility rates has not been evenly spread throughout the country.
The assessment reviewed Ethiopia’s performance with respect to health and suggests only one element of the MDGs has not been achieved yet. There has been remarkable progress in the health sector, participants said, as maternal mortality has been reduced and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria, have been fought hard. The panel says the government must work hard to create jobs.
The panel recommended that the successful heath extension program to improve the care of children and decrease maternal death be extended to other health related problems. Job opportunities should be explored in uncultivated lands and the government must focus on creating jobs in agriculture, textiles and manufacturing. In terms of education the issue of quality should be solved and the government should invest in good teaching, infrastructure and preschool. Technology should emphasized in order to incubate young entrepreneurs.
The partnership is formed by UNFPA and the two embassies to foster knowledge sharing and strengthening evidence-based information for advocacy and policy dialogue about population and development issues. This comes at a time when the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD at 25) is being celebrated in 2019.
After the authors, the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, presented the results, a presentation was made on the “Current Population Dynamics of Ethiopia” by the Institute of Population Studies of Addis Ababa University. They said population control should not be politicized. The panelists argued that birth control should be promoted.


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