Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Maternal Health needs maximum effort to meet MDG: MoH

Without intensive intervention, the vital Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of improving Maternal Health may not be met, according to both the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the United Nations Executive Board Joint Team, which paid a nine day visit to Ethiopia back in March.
“Ethiopia is on track of fulfilling health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) except for Improving Maternal Health (IMH). We still have hope but it needs intensive intervention,” said Tedros Adhanom (PhD), Minister of Health, while presenting his nine month performance report to the House of Peoples Representative last Tuesday.
The country has set aside 15 billion birr to accelerate the attainment of MDGs at the beginning of this Ethiopian budget year.       
This year about 16.6 million mothers sought family planning services in the country. Over the past nine months the Ministry handled 7.5 million of them. Professionals helped deliver babies to 656,028 mothers out of the planned 2.2 million in the past nine months, based on the report presented to the house.   
The MDGs outlines eight goals and 48 targets to be achieved by 2015. Ethiopia is on track to achieve five of eight intertwined goals: eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, and developing a global partnership for development, according to the UN team.      
Dr. Tedros said that more babies must be delivered in hospitals to improve maternal health. He also stated that more information needs to be disseminated to the public and health professionals and transportation and community health centers must be improved. 
“We purchased 840 ambulances and 370 have already been given to regional states to alleviate the problem,” he said. 
When the United Nations Executive Board Joint Team (UNEBJT) came to Ethiopia, they talked about three of the Millennium Development Goals that needed attention. 
“….Ethiopia is making good progress toward meeting the MDGs. We are encouraged to learn that particular efforts are being made to address those MDGs where progress has been slower, in particular MDG 3, 5, and 7, with the assistance of the UN,” said Jostein Leiro, Team Leader of UNEBJT in a press briefing he gave to journalists on March 30, 2012 at Addis Ababa Hilton.
The three goals which are said to be lagging behind schedule in Ethiopia are Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women, Improving Maternal Health, and Ensuring Environmental Sustainability. These target eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education not later than 2015, reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, and integrating the principles of sustainable development into the country’s policies and programs and reversing the loss of environmental resources, respectively.