ETHIOPIA: State Health On Maternal, Newborn Death Reduced

May 2015 Herald; It was disclosed that the maternal and infant death rate in the Afar State has shown a significant decline compared with the past few years. It was so disclosed at the project launching entitled “Stand up for Afari Mothers” organized by Amref Health Africa in collaboration with the Afar State Health Bureau held here recently.

The project will last three years with a cost of 240,000 Euro to equip 60 young girls with knowledge, skills and attitude of midwifery education. It is funded by the Amref Flying Doctors-Spain aimed at reducing the mortality rate of mothers and children in Afar State where getting access to skilled delivery service remains a big challenge.

State Health Bureau Deputy Head Mohammed Ahmed said that according to studies conducted here 800 mothers died out of 100, 000 in 2005, but in 2011 the maternal death rate reduced dramatically showing the focus that has been given and the improvement in the public’s awareness.

Mohammed also said that in the State there has been a problem of accessing health services but now the ambulance service and birth delivery in the health stations have been increased thus contributing to the decrease in the infant and maternal death rate.

He noted that to some extent there is still lack of awareness on the delivery service and to cope with this the bureau is working with the Federal Government, NGOs and other stakeholders. “This project will come up with significant changes as it will bridge the gap of human resources in midwifery and create awareness over the community as the students drawn from the community itself”, he added.

Amref Health Africa Country Director Dr. Florence Temu told this reporter that the project is one of the ways of strengthening the health system for the Afar State. She said that the project was launched to compliment what the government was already providing.

Dr. Florence noted that, at the end of the programme, candidate midwives will be able to perform very well in the competence assessment and contribute a lot to the reduction of preventable deaths of women in delivery. “They will also promote skills to the women and the community to access and utilize health services in order to reduce maternal death during delivery,” she added.

Dr. Florence called upon the community, government, states’ bureaus and other stakeholders to work hard for the realization of the project.

Gabriel Guzman from Amref Flying Doctors in Spain on his part said that his organization funded the project because the main way to reduce maternal mortality is having skilled human resources in the health system and midwives are one of them. The presence of midwives in the health system would have the capacity to transform the quality and coverage, he added.

Zahra Mehammedin, who is a student under this project, said that this project will enable her to acquire the required skills on midwifery and serve her country. She expressed her readiness to create awareness to the community to have institutional delivery and serve as much as she can upon the end of the programme. The candidate midwives will get enroled at the Semera Health Science College.


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