About Eritrea

A small country in the Horn of Africa, the State of Eritrea is bordered by Sudan to the north and west, and Ethiopia and the Republic of Djibouti to the south. Home to a historically important trade route, Eritrea was at times colonized by Italy and Ethiopia. As such, the country’s cultural legacies are still apparent and interesting to experience.The majority of Eritrea’s 6.1 million people belong to the Tigrinya and Tigre ethnic groups. Most of the population live in the middle of the country around urban centers like Asmara, the capital, and cities such as Keren. Overall, around 40 percent of the population is urban.

After a 30-year war for liberation from Ethiopia, Eritrea became independent in 1993. A brief period of stability was followed by a border war with Ethiopia in 1998, which ended in 2000. Since then, Eritrea has been in a state of transitional political arrangements. The highly militarized one-party state has been ranked by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the most censored country in the world. Eritrea’s contentious history has left it as one of the poorest countries in Africa, facing economic and political strife.

Eritrea’s political struggles have affected the overall health of the population, with preventable diseases making up around 70 percent of all disease. The country’s impoverished population faces significant levels of death due to tuberculosis, lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, neonatal disorders, HIV/AIDS, road injuries, protein-energy malnutrition, and measles. In recent years, death due to non-communicable diseases such as stroke, ischemic heart disease, cirrhosis, and diabetes has also increased significantly.

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