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President Obama's ambitious Global Health Initiative — announced to a receptive international community in 2009 — is faltering as budget constraints and shaky implementation limit the impact of the multibillion-dollar program.

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Momina Mohammed, 34, sits with her 8-month-old son, Ali Mohammed, who is suffering from severely acute malnutrition in a refugee camp in Suola, near the Eritrean border, Afar region, Ethiopia on Dec. 12, 2008. (John Stanmeyer/VII/GlobalPost)

Healing the world: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: A fact-based snapshot of the country's health challenges and the aims of the Global Health Initiative.

WASHINGTON — Here’s a fact-based snapshot of Ethiopia, one of the eight countries that the U.S. government has spotlighted in its initial work through the Global Health Initiative.


Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $397 million
FY 2010: $411 million

Total population: 91 million
GDP per capita: $321

Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births: 673
Number of children under 5 who die per year: nearly 500,000

Major health concerns in the country:
1) Infectious disease, including tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases
2) High rate of maternal and infant mortality
3) Two-thirds of the population is at risk for malaria, with 5 million cases per year

GHI's main goals: Streamline different types of health services and put the savings toward extending health care throughout the country; reduce the number of maternal and child deaths by about one-third by 2015 and tuberculosis deaths by half; send four times more fever cases for lab testing by 2014 in order to identify and treat malaria

GHI on the ground: With GHI funding, Ethiopia intends to hire more than 5,000 new midwives by 2015, as well as 9,000 “health information technicians” who will monitor health data. On-the-spot malaria testing kits will also be distributed to 13,000 health workers.

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN;

Funding for this project is provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation as part of its U.S. Global Health Policy program.