Addis Ababa — - Canada, through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is providing financial assistance to health and nutrition programs in Ethiopia to ensure access to basic health services, the Canadian embassy in Ethiopia said in a statement.
"Canada, through CIDA, has been a key donor and advocate for health and nutrition programming in Ethiopia since 2002 and has, in April 2006, provided CDN$ 26.5 million through UNICEF for the ongoing measles vaccination, malaria control and vitamin A supplementation programs in Ethiopia," the statement quoted Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Yves Boulanger as saying during a field visit to Ambo where CIDA funded child immunization against measles and prevention interventions against malaria are underway.
"Children are our personal joy and hold the future to society. Any child death is devastating, but even more so if it is preventable. These interventions do more than save children from dying," he said.
During the visit, the Ambassador noted that almost half a million children die before their fifth birthday from mainly preventable and easily treatable causes such as diarrhea, malaria, measles and malnutrition in Ethiopia, each year.
According to the Ambassador, Ethiopia through the Health Service Extension Program (HSEP) has also recently made some progress in child health, but the hardest to do still remains.
"I understand that the Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS) Program in Ethiopia is intended to serve as a bridge to safeguard children while the long-term HSEP is put in place. The HSEP is key to sustainable access and utilization of basic health services included within the EOS such as vitamin A supplementation, immunization, supplementary feeding and bed net distribution," Ambasssador Boulanger added.
The Ambassador then expressed his deep gratitude to the Ministry of Health and UNICEF for their effort to pioneer the integrated child survival interventions in the country.
The ambassador was accompanied by UNICEF- Ethiopia Representative, Bjorn Ljungqvist, and CIDA Ethiopia Director and Head of Development Cooperation for the Horn of Africa Marc-André Fredette.
In recent years, the international community-Canada included- has joined with developing countries to make special efforts to the survival of children and mothers.
In 2005, the Canadian government contributed CDN$ 42 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).