Countdown 2015 urges parliamentarians to save mother and child lives
Parliamentarians visit healthcare facilities
7 April Addis Ababa- Ethiopia, host of the 120th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, is one of the 68 priority countries of the Countdown to 2015 Initiative. These 68 countries jointly suffer 97% of the global burden of maternal, newborn and child mortality. Despite the progress achieved on MDGs 4 & 5, a lot remains to be done, particularly in improving the constraints of the health systems and insufficient human resources for health in these countries.
One of the presentations at the Special IPU/Countdown Session highlighted the work done in Italy by a group of women Parliamentarians to develop and present a draft bill in the Italian parliament to increase its Overseas Development Assistance, targeting particularly reproductive and maternal, newborn and child health through investment in health systems and human resources for health. This bill developed following a working session with several partners (Italian NGO ONDa -Osservatorio Nazionale sulla Salute de la Donna / National Observatory for Women's Health-, the World Health Organization and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health) earlier this year.
Following the Special Countdown/IPU Session, a visit to two health care facilities in Addis Ababa took place. A group of parliamentarians from several countries joined his Excellency Dr Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and co-chair of The Partnership, WHO Representative a.i. Dr Nehemie and PMNCH's Director a.i., Dr Bustreo to the Bole Health Center and the Yekatit 12 Hospital.
The following Parliamentarians joined the site-visit:
- Canada: Ms Cheryl Gallant, Member of the House of Commons
- France: Mrs Geneviève Colot, Member of the National Assembly
- Italy: Sen. Barbara Contini
- Philippines: Mrs Pia Cayetano, Senator (President of the Coordination Committee of Women Parliamentarians)
- Spain: Iñaki Anasagasti Olabeaga, Senator; & Yolanda Casaus, Rodríguez, Member of the Congress of Deputies
The objective of the visit was to showcase two examples of health facilities in Addis that provide services based on the principle of continuum of care. During the visit it was explained that only a small percentage of the population in the country has access to facilities like these. In Addis, 40% of deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendants. The Ministry of Health is currently carrying out a needs assessment for planning purposes, which will highlight the gap for investment in health facilities. The Ministry has also recently launched a training programme for professionals for emergency obstetric care. Both these activities fit into current governmental plans for the improvement of maternal, newborn and child health and progress towards achievement of MDGs 4 & 5 in the country.
Bole Health Care Centre – Dr. Zelalem Demeke, the medical director of Addis Ababa's Bole Clinic showed visitors the Center and explained its good practices in the context of the continuum of care, integrating antenatal care, assisted delivery, postnatal care, as well as other interventions such as PMTCT, antiretroviral treatment and child immunization.
Hospital Yekatit 12 - Dr Mulualem, the Head of the Neonatology unit & Dr Ephrem, Medical Director guided the tour around the hospital. They showed visitors the recently-inaugurated neonatology unit. The hospital has been profiled by the Ministry as a "best practice". There was also a visit to the pediatrics section with a discussion on the delivery of services and the working of the continuum of care (*) between maternal care, delivery and neonatal care. Dr Mulualem gave a presentation on the current situation of newborn health in the country, the new neonatology unit and plans to expand such facilities to the rest of the country to save newborn lives (see presentation below).
Documents and related links
Presentation by Dr Mulualem on neonatology unit, Yekatit12
Site visit general information for journalists
- Continuum of Care PMNCH website