Ranking 92 out of 95 on the UNDP Human Poverty Index, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s poorest states, with 45 % of its 70 million people living below the poverty line. Three-quarters of the population lack access to clean water, and four persons out of five live without proper sanitation. In addition, Ethiopia hosts some 133,000 refugees from neighbouring countries. In the last two decades, major crises combining droughts, epidemics, displacements and armed conflicts, have repeatedly affected the country.
The main health concerns in Ethiopia include maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS compounded by acute malnutrition and lack of access to clean water and sanitation. The limited number of health institutions, inefficient distribution of medical supplies and disparity between rural and urban areas, due to severe under-funding of the health sector, make access to health-care services very difficult. It is estimated that more than half of the population lives more than 10 km from the nearest health facility, usually in regions with poor transportation infrastructure.