“HIV/AIDS was the second cause of death in Ethiopia (2012)”

Although Ethiopia’s public health situation is improving in terms of its Millennium Development Goals (set by the World Health Organisation [WHO]), there are still major, achievable gains to be made, benefitting millions of lives in the country. For example, a recent study by the WHO showed that HIV/AIDS was the second cause of death in Ethiopia (2012), killing 7.3% of the population that year. It had increased in its cause of death rank since the year 2000. This is particularly damaging for the countries development because HIV/AIDS related deaths are reducing the number of people in the earning middle-age demographic.

This situation is worsened by the fact that 1.6% of Ethiopia’s population are blind, with over double this number measured as having low vision. These afflictions limit the populations ability to work. Fortunately, 70% of cases of blindness and 80% of cases of low vision are preventable or treatable, leaving huge room for improvement.

Other public health concerns in Ethiopia making up the top ten causes of death in the country generally relate to treatable infections, such as malnutrition and birth/pregnancy related health complications. For example, in 2012, the top cause of death was lower respiratory infections (killing 15% of the population), and the third largest cause of death (after HIV) was diarrhoeal diseases (6%). These deaths are preventable.

Daughters of Charity

Free health clinics (particularly in rural areas), up-to-date immunisation programmes, increased access to antibiotics, clean water, and improving public health messages about sanitation, hygiene, and the risks of tobacco use, would save millions of lives annually. Furthermore, with birth asphyxia/trauma the fourth highest cause of death (4.3%), and preterm birth complication the seventh (3.9%), there is a clear need for an improvement in prenatal and neonatal care.

The Work of the Sisters

The Daughters of Charity - in line with their commitment to reaching and empowering the most abandoned and marginalised members of society


The Daughters of Charity’s strategy is largely focussed around reducing the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS.


Blindness and Visual Impairment

With a dedicated team of cataract surgeons, ophthalmic nurses, the Daughters of Charity work collaboratively with Spanish doctors and the Ethiopian Government