ADDIS ABABA – South Korean Cooperation Agency, KOICA, handed over medical and transportation supplies to the Ministry of Health, to optimize health care for newborns and children in the Benishangul-Gumuz and Afar regions.
The medical and transportation supplies including 33 types of essential medical equipment, supplies, and medicines for maternal, newborn, and child health, as well as motor motorcycles, are procured by UNICEF at a cost of 600,000 USD.
The supplies would improve the supportive supervision, mentorship, and linkages between the health centers and health posts, according to a statement KOICA, Unicef, and the ministry of health jointly issued today.
Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse said the “reduction of newborn and child mortality, and improving their wellbeing is a top priority of the Ethiopian Government” as stated in the Health Sector Transformation Plan II.
The country aims to reduce neonatal mortality from 33 deaths in 1000 live births in 2019 to 21 in 2024/2025.
“Poor people living in rural and pastoralist areas, and the less educated and illiterate, are less likely to have access to and utilize health services,” Dr. Lia said.
KOICA’s “support is contributing to addressing equity which is one of the country’s health system challenges,” the minister added.
The supplies handed over to the ministry today are part of the project entitled “Optimizing care for newborns and children in Benishangul-Gumuz and Afar regions, Ethiopia,” launched in May 2020.
The project supported by the Korean cooperation agency covers 13 hospitals, 86 health centers, and 516 health posts, in Benishangul-Gumuz and Afar regions.
KOICA “is proud to support the Government of Ethiopia through a strong partnership with UNICEF to optimize health care for newborns and children” in the two regions,’ said Sunghee Cho, Deputy Country Director of KOICA Ethiopia.
The project was launched in 2020. More than 57,400 pregnant women and newborn babies, and 265,291 under-five children are expected to benefit from the program every year since 2021, says the joint statement.
The supplies “handed over today, and the overall program funded by KOICA, will contribute to keeping mothers and their children healthy so they can survive and thrive,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Ethiopia Representative.