Fewer maternal deaths and stillbirths in Ethiopia: improving quality of care is paying off

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s National Health Care Quality Strategy for 2016-2020 placed Maternal, Newborn and Child Health as a priority with the ambitious goals to reduce the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 412 to 199 per 100,000 live births by 2020; to reduce the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) from 28 to 10 per 1,000 live births by 2020 and reduce stillbirth rate from 18 to 10 per 1000 births by 2020.

Ethiopia is one of the ten countries leading the Quality of Care Network, working to ensure that every pregnant woman and newborn receives good quality care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Launched in 2017, with the support from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and UNFPA, and in collaboration with partners, the Quality of Care Network supports countries in implementing national strategies for quality of care in the health sector. Each country in the Network has committed to halve maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths in health facilities by 2022 and improve patients’ experience of care.

The Federal Ministry of Health will present and discuss what has been done since the launch of the network at the second meeting of the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (Quality of Care Network) which will take place 12-14 March in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, this commitment translated into a package of interventions to drive quality improvement in facilities, from clinical mentoring and coaching to an increased focus on implementing maternal and perinatal death surveillance review. Learning is a key component, with seventeen districts that are representative of the pastoralist, urban and rural populations serve as ‘learning districts’. They are testing change ideas to bring about improvements in clinical processes and patient outcomes such as perinatal asphyxia, neonatal hypothermia, inappropriate referral of mothers and neonates, and sharing what has worked in their context, and what the hurdles are, as lessons to be drawn upon in other districts. This approach is reinforced by a long-standing learning network of hospitals evaluated on the quality of care they provide, with the star hospitals leading less performant facilities in improving their services.

The 2nd meeting of the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will bring together around 250 Representatives from the Ministries of Health as well as from districts and health facilities of each country, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, bilateral development partners, non-governmental organisations and academia will attend the meeting.

Source: World Health Organization