ERITREA: COMBATING MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY, PROMOTING THE RIGHT TO HEALTH
The concern about maternal and child health has been raised in recent weeks by many health personnel with talks targeting the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents as areas of extreme importance which demonstrate a country’s commitment to building a healthy nation. One of the countries fully engaged in safeguarding the health of women, children and adolescents in the fight against maternal and child mortality is Eritrea.
The Eritrea health system has been able to cut down mortality rates of mothers and children through its extensive public health work. The country’s health sector has been able to achieve a 3.16% reduction of maternal mortality ratio from 2016 to 2017, and a decrease in Neonatal mortality from 27.2 deaths per 1000 live births in 1999 to 18.4 deaths per 1000 live births in 2018. This adds to a 90.1 decline in infant mortality deaths per 1000 live births in 1999 to 41.9 deaths per 1000 live births in 2018. These improving figures are thanks to governments efforts in establishing health infrastructure in the entire country particularly in remote areas where maternal and child mortality is relatively high due to the lack of transportation means. However, Eritrea’s health Ministry has sought other means to resolve this complaint by empowering traditional birth attendants through training. Health services are given in Eritrea free of charge and are available throughout the country. The Ministry of health has also approved pre testing in hospitals for antenatal care and delivery in order to identify risk factors earlier and prevent complications related to delivery. Although millions of women worldwide are affected by maternal mortality and morbidity and children worldwide still have little or no access to essential quality health services and education as well as clean air and water, and adequate sanitation and nutrition, the maternal and child health service in Eritrea is already bracing up to avoid further cases of maternal and infant mortality in the country.
Many women who live in remote areas depend on traditional birth attendants, often associated with increased maternal and infant mortalities, due to transport problems. To mitigate this problem the Ministry of Health (MoH) has been empowering traditional birth attendants through training.
It should be noted that health services are given free of charge in Eritrea and are available throughout the country. Therefore, on top of what has been achieved so far, the government expect further reduction in maternal and infant mortality in the near future.