Ethiopia is now focused on minimizing death of mothers and children focusing mainly on the countryside. It’s very hard for many people of Ethiopia especially when you get out of addis and other major cities to find a health care service. It is amazing how many people are not getting enough, proper medical care or none at all. Ethiopia is now trying to solve these problems by different approaches, projects and programs with USAID and other organizations.
Article – every year, 25,000 Ethiopian women die due to complications of pregnancy, labour and childbirth. This represents a total of 68 deaths a day. 500,000 women also suffer disabilities related to child pregnancy and childbirth. The main causes of death are hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertension, obstructed labour and abortion. Other direct causes such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis also take their toll. From this article; Newborn deaths are also estimated as 118, 000 per year.
The contributing factors include:
- Lack of adequate information and support to women to control their reproductive health.
- Inadequate knowledge about danger signs.
- Lack of adequate medical facilities.
- Cultural, traditional and economic factors restricting women from seeking services.
- Lack of skilled care, especially midwifery services during antepartum, intrapartum and post partum period.
According to Ethiopia demography health survey, skilled attendance at birth is only 6%. And Ethiopia has only one midwife and three doctors for every 100,000 citizens. This has contributed to high level of maternal mortality. Internal evidence shown that availability of skilled attendant at birth ensures prevention and prompt treatment of complications and making a huge difference in the lives of women during labour and delivery.
Due to the programs that are already implemented it is believed that the number of deaths will decrease in significant amount. I have also seen with my own eyes and was very impressed how much it is improving with impacts made by the programs like Accelerated Health Officer Training Program (AHTOP). It is a program coordinated by JSI and funded by USAID. What they basically did was a train a nurse in that specific area to become health officers and increase skilled health professionals in handling critical cases in health centers and hospitals. This played a significant role in minimizing death specially those that occur in referring them to other hospitals because of lack of skilled manpower. And I think they are doing an amazing job in saving lives in villages and countrysides where they are assigned.
The program generally focused on:
- Improving the quality of university-level health science education in Ethiopia. This was accomplished through the renovation of health care facilities and the creation of adequate classrooms, libraries, and laboratories at seven universities.
- Increasing the number of students training to be health officers. The majority of students in the training program were practicing nurses who received basic science education in the first year, followed by two years of tailored instruction at a training hospital.
It is impressive how much was done so far and I hope such efforts and programs continues to change and improve the rest of the problems that exist when medical care in Ethiopia comes in to discussion. Things like not having ambu bag for resuscitation, no oxygen available at the emergency room and many more equipment lack in delivery rooms too.