Ethiopia recorded the highest improvement in Hunger in the last two decades. According to the 2010 Global Hunger Index(GHI), in the last two decades, Ethiopia improved by 13.9 points and, thus, moved from extremely alarming to alarming category. The other five developing countries that showed similar improvements, between the 1990 GHI and the 2010 GHI, are Mozambique by 13.7points, Ghana and Angola by 13.4points, and Nicaragua and Vietnam by 13.3 points.
The 2010 GHI is published on October 2010. The 2010 GHI is calculated based on data from 2003 to 2008 – the most recent available global data on the three GHI components.
According to this year report, Ethiopia’s GHI score improved from 43.7 in 1990 GHI to 29.8 in 2010 GHI. To meet the Millennium Development Goals, Ethiopia’s GHI score needs to be 21.27 by the year 2015.
The change in Ethiopia’s GHI score is a result of the improvements recorded in each of the three indicators in the last two decades. The proportion of undernourished in the population decreased from 71% (in 1990-92) to 44% (in 2004-06). The prevalence of underweight in children under five years decreased 39.2% (in 1988-92) to 34.6% (in 2003-08). The rate of Under five Mortality is reduced from 21% (in 1990) to 10.9% (in 2008).
The index is based on the total score of a country in three equally weighted indicators. That is: 1. The proportion of undernourished as a percentage of the population (reflecting the share of the population with insufficient dietary energy intake); 2. The prevalence of underweight in children under the age of five (indicating the proportion of children suffering from low weight for their age); and 3. The mortality rate of children under the age of five (partially reflecting the fatal synergy between inadequate dietary intake and unhealthy environments).
By measuring the above three indicators out of 33.33points, the GHI index rates the state of hunger in a country on a 100-point scale. A GHI score less than 5.0 reflect low hunger, values between 5.0 and 9.9 reflect
The year 1990 is chosen as a base year for comparison because it is a reference point for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
However, the GHI has limitations in reflecting latest economic improvements and changes in hunger; since collecting high-quality food consumption data is a tedious and time-consuming task that requires specialized skills, up-to-the-minute data on global hunger are not available.
The multidimensional approach of the GHI is believed to enable capturing ‘various aspects of hunger in one index number, thereby presenting a quick overview of a complex issue. It takes account of the nutrition situation not only of the population as a whole, but also of a physiologically vulnerable group – children – for whom a lack of nutrients causes a high risk of illness, poor physical and cognitive growth, and death. In addition, by combining independently measured indicators, it reduces the effects of random measurement errors.’
Ethiopia’s 2010 MDG Report
In a related development, the Ethiopian government released MDGs report last month. The 60-page report, titled ‘Ethiopia: 2010 MDGs Report – Trends and Prospects for Meeting MDGs in 2015’, provides an account of Ethiopia’s performance with respect to each MDG goals. According to the report, Ethiopia is on track to meet 5 MDG goals. However, additional efforts are required to achieve the other 3 goals; that is, Promoting Gender Equality and Empowerment, Improving Maternal Health, and Ensuring Environmental Sustainability.
With regard to the level of poverty the MDGs report notes that:
‘Ethiopia started the fight against poverty from very high levels with close to 49.5% of the total population under the poverty line in 1994/95. Following the implementation of the comprehensive poverty reduction strategy, poverty levels have declined steadily reaching 38.7 percent in 2004/05, and are estimated to further decline to 29.2 percent in 2009/10. The five year Growth and Transformation Plan 2010/11-14/15 indicates that Ethiopia would achieve halving poverty by 2015 and projects that both income and food poverty reach 22.2% and 21.22% in 2014/15 from 29.2% and 28.2% in 2009/10, respectively.
Concerning the prevalence of under-weight children, the MDGs report states:
Despite improvements, significant reductions in the current levels of under-weight children under five years old are required. Aiming to achieve this goal, the Government has developed a National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) and it is implementing a National Nutrition Program (NNP) to accelerate progress and address malnutrition with a comprehensive and harmonized approach. The NNP focuses on the immediate causes of malnutrition by supporting a basic package of high impact interventions such as Vitamin A supplementation, de-worming, screening and Targeted Supplementary Feeding (TSF), delivered in a campaign mode. It also addresses the underlying and basic causes through a comprehensive, preventive community-based nutrition intervention package, linking humanitarian food security interventions and the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). The government has also taken the innovative step of addressing acute malnutrition at community level using the infrastructure in place through the Health Extension Programme.
On the mortality rate of children, the MDGs report explains:
The under-five mortality rate has decreased to 123/1,000 in 2005/06 from 167/1,000 in 2001/02 and the infant mortality rate has declined to 77 per 1,000 live births in 2004/05 from 97 per 1,000 live births in 2001/02. In 2009/10 the under five mortality rates and infant mortality rates decreased to 101/1000 and to 45/1000 live births, respectively. Malaria (20%), Pneumonia (28%), Diarrheal Diseases (20%) and Newborn conditions (25%) each account for the major causes of child deaths in Ethiopia. The improvement of children’s health is an essential component of the Health Sector Development Programme (HSDP) III that focuses on poverty related health conditions. HSDP III which ends in the middle of 2010, envisaged a reduction of the mortality rates of children under-five from 123/1,000 to 85/1,000 and the infant mortality rate from 77 to 45 per 1000 live births. This prognosis is based on an increased coverage of maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition and WASH related interventions.
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