While most countries in the East African region have made progress in reducing under-five mortality rates (in accordance with Millennium Development Goal Four, more needs to be done. The three leading causes of childhood deaths (pneumonia, diarrhea and neonatal issues) together account for up to 75 percent of child mortality. Under-nutrition also contributes to half of all deaths of children under five years old.
Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century have originated in animals. Notable reminders of how vulnerable the increasingly interconnected world is to the global impact of new emergent diseases include HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H5N1 avian influenza, and the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. The speed with which these diseases can emerge and spread presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns. It also underscores the need for the development of comprehensive disease detection and response capacities, particularly in “hot spot” areas such as the Congo Basin of East and Central Africa and areas of Southeast Asia and Latin America where a confluence of risk factors may contribute to disease emergence.
Stunting, a result of chronic nutritional deficiency, is a problem of larger proportion than other forms of under nutrition and a particular public health concern in the region owing to its high prevalence. It poses significant risk to the normal intellectual development of children and compromises the economic productivity of adults. Nine out of 32 countries that contribute to the global burden of stunting are located in countries supported by USAID/EA.
Since 2002, the USAID/EA Office of Regional Health and HIV/AIDS has been developing the capacity of African partners to improve and expand Tuberculosis (TB) prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs.
East Africa faces considerable challenges in family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH). The region has countries with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with many reporting over 500 deaths per 100,000 live births. The region also shows slow contraceptive use (with a regional average of 20%). Average family size is high and most women have between five and six children in their lifetime. As a result of a large proportion of the target population having unmet needs in family planning, many unintended pregnancies and unsafe deliveries impeded progress in meeting Millennium Development and FP/RH goals.
Last updated: August 19, 2015