Improve maternal health

Where we are?

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in Africa. Progress on reducing maternal mortality has stalled since 2005 when the country managed to reduce maternal mortality rate (MMR) to 676 per 100,000 births in 2010/11 from 871 in 2000/01. This means that with the MDG target of 267 per 100,000 births by 2015, the country is clearly off-track on goal five.

There are a number of factors behind this dismal performance, namely: delays in seeking skilled emergency obstetric care; delays in reaching the health facility, and delays in receiving a timely intervention after reaching the facility and large proportions of unmet family planning needs among girls in child-bearing ages. For example, although the percentage of women (aged between 15 and 49) using modern contraception increased from 6.3% in 2000 to 18.7% in 2011 and contraceptive use prevalence rate for the same age group increased from 6% in 2000 to 29% 2010/2011 (EDHS, 2011), performance on these indicators is still very low compared to many African countries.

In addition, the percentage of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants was only 20.4% in 2011/12, much lower than skilled delivery of 74% and 44% respectively for urban and rural communities in the Southern and Eastern African region. The UN Country Team is working with the Government of Ethiopia to apply the MDGs Acceleration Framework (MAF) and develop an action plan for accelerating progress on maternal health.

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