It is often assumed that improving the education of a population will improve their health outcomes. The Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in more than 90 countries have consistently shown a positive relationship between education and improved health and lowered fertility. But many questions remain: At what level of education among women and men does an improvement in health become noticeable? Is the relationship between education and health consistent across all health indicators? To what extent does a woman’s education affect the health of her child? How can health messages reach men and women who are uneducated and illiterate? And now, in the age of HIV/AIDS, why are the most educated exhibiting the highest HIV prevalence?
In Ethiopia, the most educated women (those with secondary or higher education) usually are in the best health. However, only 12 percent of women have received this level of education. How, then, do other women fare? Do women with only a primary education experience marked improvements in health over those with no education? Answering these questions requires a more in-depth look at the relationship between education and health indicators in Ethiopia. Using data collected in the 2005 EDHS, this booklet provides an overview of education and literacy in Ethiopia, and then presents the major demographic and health indicators by the educational levels of the respondents, or, in the case of children’s health, by the educational level of the mother.
This analysis does not control for the confounding effects of urbanity, wealth, culture, or other related variables requiring more sophisticated statistical techniques, which is beyond the scope of this report.