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The Ministry of Health is reportedly working to obtain first-hand data on maternal and newborn mortality. The announcement came during the launch of the State of World’s Mothers Report 2015 at Elilly International Hotel on Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
“Data from 2013 is the most recent we have. We are working to assess the exact number of both maternal and neonatal mortality. Our studies have not yet been completed and require more time to determine exact statistics for the country,” said Dr. Ekram Mohammed, Maternal and Child Health Case Team Coordinator at the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry has been heavily dependent on secondary data issued by organizations such as the United Nations, but has now adopted programs to help it obtain its own data in a number of areas including maternal and newborn mortality.
“We currently rely on estimates. Once these programs are strengthened, we will not talk about estimates, we will depend on precise data,” Dr. Ekram said.
According to the newly released State of World’s Mothers Report 2015 by Save the Children, in Addis Ababa during the last decade, the number of hospitals has grown from 25 to 34. Primary health care facilities rose from 23 to 75 and private health facilities providing various levels of care grew from 319 to 573.
A 2013 UN estimate also shows that Ethiopian infant mortality is at 44 per 1,000 live births, under-five mortality is at 64 per 1,000 and neonatal mortality is at 27 per 1,000, while maternal mortality is at 420 per 100,000. Most maternal, child and newborn health-related concerns are known to be preventable.
“We are implementing a holistic approach including prenatal and post-birth conditions. The neonatal mortality rate is staggering and our maternal mortality ratio is not where we want it to be, despite registering some progress,” Dr. Ekram said.
One of the major reasons for the decrease in maternal and newborn mortality is the increasing presence of health care professionals during childbirth. Still, in a number of cases in Addis Ababa, death still occurs during delivery, raising questions of negligence and accountability.
“The question of negligence is a sensitive issue. The Ministry of Health is working to make maternal and child health services friendlier for mothers. The Maternal and Child Health Directorate with the Medical Services Directorate at the Federal Ministry of Health is preparing guidelines on how health facilities can provide a more ethical and welcoming environment,” said Dr. Ekram.
She also stated that the issue of accountability is a delicate topic and that the Ministry of Health addresses complaints it receives from the public.