IRIN PlusNews HIV/AIDS News and information service | Horn of Africa | ETHIOPIA: Expanded health coverage plan launched | | News Items
Sunday 12 February 2006
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
RSS - News Briefs


PlusNews E-mail Subscription

ETHIOPIA: Expanded health coverage plan launched

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

ADDIS ABABA, 24 May (PLUSNEWS) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday announced a massive expansion of health coverage for the 35 million Ethiopians who do not have access to hospitals and clinics.

Meles said the government was dramatically increasing the number clinics and hospitals in the country as part of the drive against HIV that has infected 1.5 million people.

Speaking at an international conference in Addis Ababa, to discuss how to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, he said the government planned to set up one health centre for every 25,000 people in all rural areas within three years.

The health centres would provide "counselling, diagnosis and treatment," Meles said. He added they would also try and encourage behavioural change.

"The HIV/AIDS pandemic has been and continues to be a major threat to our viability as a nation," the prime minister said. "Even if we manage to control the spread of the disease now and reverse it, the result of the damage already caused will continue to have major impacts on all aspects of our lives as a society."

Around half of Ethiopia’s 71 million people do not have access to health facillities, according to government and UN figures and 900,000 people have died from AIDS.

The health ministry expected the number of deaths from AIDS-related causes to have doubled by 2008.

No official funding figures were announced on boosting health sector coverage but the government has said it needs US $19 billion to overcome HIV/AIDS in the next decade.

Meles warned that while the epidemic was levelling off in urban areas it was on the increase in rural villages. More than 85 percent of the population live in rural areas.

His comments came at a US-organised annual conference on President George W. Bush's $15 billion emergency plan for AIDS relief. Ethiopia – which has the fifth highest number of people living with HIV in the world - is one of 15 countries being targeted under the emergency plan.

Earlier Ambassador Randall Tobias, the US Global AIDS Coordinator told the conference that the US was spending double the rest of the world in fighting HIV/AIDS. "The emergency plan is the largest international health initiative any nation has ever directed at a single disease," he added.

According to the Ethiopian health authorities an estimated 12.6 percent of people in urban areas are HIV-positive while in rural settings it is 2.6 percent. The national prevalence rate is 4.4 percent.

The US spent $43 million in Ethiopia in 2004 on anti-AIDS activities. A further $61 million is earmarked for this year – half of which will be used to buy antiretroviral drugs.

Experts estimate that more than $100 million a year was now being channelled through the government into the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Antiretroviral drugs are being given to patients at 20 hospitals around the country. Distribution would also take place at 30 health centres in the country. That is expected to be expanded to over 100 by 2008.


Recent ETHIOPIA Reports
Nearly half of the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS,  25/Oct/05
UNICEF receives Sweden's donation for AIDS orphans,  12/Sep/05
Serious challenges facing HIV/AIDS fight - US report,  15/Apr/05
Nationwide HIV/AIDS hotline launched,  14/Mar/05
New strategy launched to combat HIV/AIDS,  24/Jan/05
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

[Back] [Home Page]

Click here to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about PlusNews Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to Webmaster

Copyright © IRIN 2006
The material contained on comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.
All PlusNews material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.