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Ethiopia, the second most populated country in Africa following Nigeria, with a population exceeding 80 million since 2008, is one of the poorest and the least developed countries in the world. Only 17% of the population is residing in urban areas (in the rest of the African countries the percentage is around 37%) and

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According to data from the African Observatory of 2010, life expectancy raised from 48 years in 1990 to 58 years in 2008, slightly above the 53 year African average. 46.1% of the population is between 0-14 years of age, with a median age of 16.9 years. In the distribution of burden of diseases, the communicable diseases represent the 73%, the non-communicable ones the 20% and the injuries the 6%.

One of the main reasons for the low level of health services is the lack of infrastructure and the extremely low number of specialized personnel.

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The nursing/midwifery and physician density is 2 and 0.4/10.000 population, substantially lower of the African average of 2 and 11 respectively.
The charitable, not for profit organization Mission ANTHROPOS organized for a third consecutive year a medical and humanitarian mission in Ayder Referral Hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia, between March 2-11, 2012.

Ayder Referral Hospital, the second biggest University Hospital in Ethiopia, in the last 3 years that we are visiting the area has developed in its full capacity, with 480 operational beds, however it is still under-equipped and understaffed with its medical personnel being limited to 35 doctors.