NEW YORK, November 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Ministry of Health has approved plan to accelerate progress on improving maternal health in Ethiopia in an effort that is expected to address the concern over the so far slow progress the country has made on meeting the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health (MDG 5) .
“Advancing better health is a gateway to development progress, lifting economies and societies. Meeting a woman’s need for sexual and reproductive health services will increase her chances of finishing her education, and breaking out of poverty,” saidUN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative Mr Eugene Owusu, emphasising the importance of fast-tracking actions for reducing maternal mortality in Ethiopia.
Recent data and trends placeEthiopia as one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world.
The 2010/11 Demographic and Health Survey indicates that Ethiopia has made limited progress over the last decadeto reduce maternal deaths but there is some concern that the trend might be reversing. The maternal mortality ratio declined from 871 deaths per 100,000 births in 2000to 673 in 2005; howeverthe maternal mortality ratio marginally increased between 2005 and 2010, to 676 per 100,000 live births in 2010.
The Ministry of Heath has undertaken measures to reduce maternal mortality through the provision of clean and safe delivery services at the health post level, skilled delivery and emergency obstetric care at facility level and family planning services at all levels of the health care system. To up-scale these efforts, experts drawn from the Government and various UN agencies have been able to adapt the MAF methodology to the Ethiopian context, and to identify systematically bottlenecks and prioritize acceleration solutions to speed up progress on MDG 5.
For women in the reproductive age (15-49 years), reproductive health problems constitute the leading cause of ill health and death. And because women are often the backbones of their families, these problems can affect the well-being of the whole family.Universal access to family planning; access to pre- and antenatal care; skilled attendance at all births; and timely emergency obstetric care when complications arise can prevent almost all maternal mortality and greatly reduce injuries of childbearing. Access to family planning alone can reduce unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and maternal death and disability, saving women’s lives and the lives of their children.
The MDG Accelerated Action Plan on Improving Maternal Health in Ethiopia was validated and endorsed by the Ministry of Health at a national conference in Addis Ababa on 8th of November 2013. The plan is based on the MDG Acceleration Frameworkand takes into account the fact that the rate of achieving MDG 5 varies across geographic regions and socio-economic groups in Ethiopia.
The MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) is an important tool increasingly used by countries to identify and remove barriers to MDG achievement. The MAF was developed by UNDP in 2010 and is supported by UN Development Group. Around 50 countrieshave applied the MAF to help them drive efforts to overcome the bottlenecks preventing progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
For more information on Ethiopia’s progress on the MDGs read latest country report http://www.et.undp.org/content/ethiopia/en/home/library/mdg/publication_12/
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