Korea has decided to help Ethiopia manage population growth and promote health policies for mothers and children. The Planned Population Federation of Korea said on Thursday that it will spend W2.2 billion over the next two years and eight months to carry out the birth control initiative in Ethiopia (US$1=W1,014). The federation will join hands with the Korean International Cooperation Agency to oversee Ethiopia’s birth control efforts and send advisors to help the African country establish health and population growth policies. The two Korean agencies will also launch a campaign in Ethiopia on the radio and other media to boost awareness of the importance of birth control and the health of women and children in order to lower the country’s high infant mortality rate, which stands at 74 babies per 1,000.
Last year, Ethiopia’s birthrate stood at 4.6 babies per woman, which is similar to Korea’s in 1970. Korea began a nationwide program to control population growth in 1961, when the birthrate rose to six babies per woman. As a result, it was able to lower the birthrate to 2.1 by 1984. However, by now Korea’s birth-control policies may have proved too effective and triggered a record low birthrate, so the PPKF in 2006 shifted to a policy of promoting childbirth. PPFK president Son Suk-mi said, “We have been given the opportunity to share Korea’s effective birth-control policies on an international scale. We plan to provide continuous support that goes beyond aid in building infrastructure and providing supplies.”