Maternal healthcare-Ethiopia - Ethiopia has met one of the global anti-poverty targets by radically improving child survival and reducing the death of women during pregnancy and child-birth. Ethiopian Health Minister, Kesetebirhan Admassu, said Wednesday that despite a massive drop in the number of child deaths, the government was still not satisfied with the investments within the healthcare system.
“We have seen improvements but these are not the significant dip we would like to see in our maternal mortality rates,” said Kesetebirhan.
Ethiopia has achieved the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of drastically reducing child deaths. Reducing death of mothers’ during child delivery, however, remains beyond target.
The European Union (EU) unveiled a 40-million-Euro grant Wednesday to help expand access to public health facilities for pregnant mothers and new-born children in Ethiopia.
Head of EU Delegation to Ethiopia, Chantal Hebberecht, hailed the progress made in improving child survival and other health indicators but regretted that reducing the maternal deaths still remained.
The European aid to healthcare is one of the largest such grants aimed at expanding access to healthcare. Although only two in every 10 women (20%) in Ethiopia gave birth at a health facility in 2012, the number of women dying at childbirth was much lower compared to 10 years ago.
“Investment in health has some of the highest returns in Ethiopia,” the minister said.
Ethiopia, the EU and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are joining forces to implement the programme to reduce maternal deaths in Ethiopia.
Dr. Peter Salama, the UNICEF Country Representative, said while child survival was much improved, most children still died at the age of 28 days after birth.
“These deaths are linked to the health and nutrition of the mother and the care she receives in the antenatal period, in labour and delivery and immediately afterwards,” Dr. Salama said.
Ethiopia reduced the death of children under five years old by two thirds between 1990 and 2012. The MDG targets the reduction of maternal deaths to below 267 per 100,000 live births. Ethiopia currently stands at 676 per 100,000 live births.
The health minister said new figures indicated that Ethiopia was closing the gaps on healthcare.