ADDIS ABABA – The Chinese Government has handed over medical supplies worth 400, 000 US dollars to Ethiopia that will help improve the quality of health care provided to newborn babies in two zones of Tigray and SNNP regions.
The medical supplies, procured by Unicef, are part of a one million USD project on “Improving the quality of care for newborn health in Ethiopia” launched in March 2020
It covers 61 health centres, 229 health posts, and six primary hospitals in the two regions.
According to Unicef, an estimated 94,000 pregnant women and newborn babies are expected to benefit from the project.
The supplies handed over to the Ministry of Health on Friday include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) bubbles with canula for newborn babies, hand operated neonatal resuscitators, and oxygen concentrators.
Unicef said the support helps to improve the quality of health care for newborn babies through competency-based training of health workers, among others.
Through the project, the UN agency said 62 midwives have been trained and 96 health facilities mentored on basic emergency obstetric and newborn care basic emergency, including essential newborn care. About 76 nurses and doctors have also been trained on newborn intensive care management for sick and small newborn babies, according to Unicef.
Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse, said reducing newborn mortality is a top priority of the Ethiopian Government as stated in the Health Sector Transformation Plan.
The plan aims to reduce neonatal mortality from 33 deaths in 1000 live births in 2019 to 21 in 2024/2025.
“This support is contributing significantly to reaching this goal, working in such a remote geographic area,” said Dr. Lia.
According to the Un agency, Ethiopia has achieved commendable results in the reduction of under 5 mortality from a very high level of 222 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 59 deaths per 1000 live births in 2019.
Despite this reduction, deaths of newborn babies have remained high, with an estimated 112,000 dying every year and accounting for 55 per cent of all under-5 child deaths, according to EDHS 2019.