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Health Posts Bring Care to the Neediest

Ethiopia, Africa
Contains mature topics

The extremely poor, who are often extremely remote, have little access to health care or health education. United Nations’ health posts bring that service to people living off the grid.

Complete Video Script

An effective way to fight hunger is to focus on health and nutrition. After all, if you're sick, you're more likely to be poor, and if you're healthy you're better able to climb out of poverty.

In many developing countries, the government — often with the help of the United Nations' World Food Program — maintains health posts like this one in Ethiopia. Extremely poor people have no money for health care. But this health post provides the basics in the village for free.

Pauline Akabwai, a local UN worker, explained how they educate young mothers — who gather here twice a month — to help them raise healthier babies:

Pauline: A health post is the smallest unit of health in Ethiopia, and this is one of the health posts. The reason why we have a health post is because of the close proximity to the community. And the mothers and our beneficiaries do not need to pay any money to receive services.

The main objective is to prevent malnutrition. We have a program called "Targeted Supplemental Feeding Program," and the program targets children under five years with moderate acute malnutrition, and also pregnant and lactating women with moderate acute malnutrition.

One of the activities that we do is to screen for malnutrition, moderate acute malnutrition. They measure the arms of the children, and if the pointer shows yellow, it means the child is moderately acute malnourished. We also weigh children. When you are screening for malnutrition you weigh children.

Along with being malnourished, children in the developing world are more likely to contract a host of dangerous diseases. Inoculations are an example of a global success of a United Nations–led initiative. Measles, typhoid, and pneumonia — until recently commonplace in the poor world — are easily avoided with cheap and simple vaccinations. Thanks to a UN program, nearly all the world's children are now inoculated against these most deadly diseases, and child mortality has dropped dramatically.