Nurse Carina Araujo gives care to a child in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6. Portugal's birthrate has dropped 14 percent since the economic crisis hit.
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An elderly woman sits near the Tejo River in Lisbon on Oct. 17, 2011. Portugal's population is aging rapidly, due to a drop in births coupled with growth in emigration.
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The government is closing schools and maternity hospitals, and Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital was slated to close last summer. But MAC staff went to court to fight for their jobs and won a reprieve, so the facility remains open — though two whole wings sit unused.
In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.
Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.
"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.
The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.
Almaz Acha sits with her baby Alentse at her home in the rural community of Sadoye, in southern Ethiopia. Families in rural communities, like this one, have benefited from Ethiopia's health extension program.
Credit Julien Behal / PA Photos /Landov
Community health worker Foos Muhumed Gudaal treats kids for malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea at her post in the village of Walgo Yar, Ethiopia.
Poor countries are starting to realize something that richer ones sometimes forget: Basic, inexpensive measures can have dramatic impacts on the health of a country. And they can save thousands of lives.
Take, for instance, the situation in Ethiopia.
The country used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world.