Educational Series: Article 1

When thinking about writing a series of educational articles about Ethiopia, life there and the work we do I came upon this quote from Haile Gebreselassie, “I feel a social responsibility. We need to open people’s eyes. There is a lack of education in Ethiopia”. I want to use a variation of this great Ethiopian’s word to explain my desire; I feel a social responsibility, we need to open people’s eyes. There is a lack of education about Ethiopia. If there are topics you would love to have addressed please email me and I will work on them for future posts.

The source for this article (unless otherwise indicated) is the World Health Organization (WHO) (2014), Ethiopia: health profile.


Ethiopia has a population of around 91 million people and is the second most populated country in Africa; approximately 17% of the population lives in an urban area. The country is heavily dependent upon agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 46 percent of their GDP and 85 percent of total employment (The Heritage Foundation, 2014). The economic situation in Ethiopia has been increasing in recent years, however the country is still one of the poorest in the world. Looking at a GDP per capita comparison between Canada and Ethiopia demonstrates this point; Canada’s GDP per capita is $42, 734 while Ethiopia’s is $1,191 (The Heritage Foundation, 2014).

I have not provided the comparison statistics above and below to indicate that Canada is better or that we have it all figured out, I have included them because I find statistics to be better understood if someone has a reference point. We tend to have a decent understanding of life in our own countries and so this is there simply to provide a reference for understanding the situation in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Canada
Life expectancy M/F 62/65 80/84
Under 5 Mortality Rate /100 live births 6.8 0.5
Adult Mortality Rate (probability of dying between 15-60 /100 population) 25/21.2 8.3/5.2

There is one other statistic that I would like to share in this article and that is regarding health care providers. Ethiopia is experiencing a severe shortage of trained health care providers. There are approximately 3 physicians for every 100,000 people in the country and there are 25 nurses or midwives for every 100,000 people. The health care system in Ethiopia is understaffed and overworked. I believe some of the above statistics could be changed by improved access to adequate healthcare. This is a problem that will take years to improve. This is one of the reasons we take medical expeditions over twice a year. This way we are able to provide regular medical check ups on the children and their families. If you are interested in traveling with us for a medical expedition we are always looking for physicians and nurses. This October/November will be our next medical expedition, and we need trained healthcare professionals to volunteer with us. Please contact our expedition coordinator if you are interested in making a difference.

Turge clinic (8)


The Heritage Foundation. (2014). 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (May 2014). Ethiopia: health profile. Retrieved from