Ethiopia to Accelerate Action Plan to Improve Maternal Health

Nov 8, 2013

The Accelerated Action Plan on Improving Maternal Health in Ethiopia was validated and endorsed today by the Ministry of Health at a national conference in Addis Ababa.

Dr Taye Tolera, Special Advisor to State Minister Dr Kebede Worku at the Ministry of Health, recognised that the challenges on improving maternal are very complex and will require actions from different sectors to be addressed.

In Ethiopia, the slow progress on Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) on improving maternal health is a cause for great concern with recent data and trends placing Ethiopia 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 to reduce maternal deaths over the last decade. There is some concern that the trend might be reversing;  The maternal mortality ratio declined from 871 deaths per 100,000 births in 2000 to 673 in 2005 , however, between 2005 and 2010, the maternal mortality ratio marginally increased to 676 per 100,000 live births in 2010.

“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,” said Mr Eugene Owusu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative, emphasising the importance of fast-tracking actions for reducing maternal mortality in Ethiopia.

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.

Dr Taye Tolera explained that Ethiopia has noted that the rate of achieving MDG 5 varies across geographic regions and socio-economic groups in the country and concluded that “we have to be strategic in taking these variations into account in our plans. The MDG Acceleration Framework provides us an opportunity to do just that.”

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, with around 50 countries applying it to help them drive efforts to overcome the bottlenecks preventing progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

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