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Bill Gates Foundation provides $9.6m to address maternal and child mortality in Ethiopia

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MotherandchildThe Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) says it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to address maternal and child mortality in Ethiopia.

The IHI announced last week in an email to ghanabusinessnews.com that it has received a grant of $9.6 million to reduce the incidences of maternal and newborn mortality in the East African country.

The Institute would work with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health over two-and-a-half years “in its pursuit of an ambitious agenda to rapidly close gaps in national health outcomes through the coordination of quality planning, quality assurance, and quality improvement,” it said.

Despite what is seen as steady progress in the overall maternal and child health in Ethiopia in the last 10 years, reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality have been minimal – the maternal mortality ratio stands high at 420 deaths per 100,000 live birth and neonatal deaths (occurring within the first 28 days of life) represent close to half of all under-five deaths.

IHI says it will draw on extensive experience supporting government and large population-based health systems to support the country’s Ministry of Health in developing a unified Ethiopian National Health Care Quality Strategy that builds on existing initiatives to improve the quality and equity of care at all levels of the health care system.

It adds that, a scalable model of health system improvement will be launched and tested in health facilities and communities across four regions in the country, with the ultimate goal of scaling up to all nine regions and two city administrations in the country.

Ethiopia has been on a growth trajectory in the last decade.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranks Ethiopia among the five fastest growing economies in the world. The country has experienced real GDP growth averaged 10.8 per cent per annum, in 2013/14 the economy grew for its 11th consecutive year posting 10.3 per cent growth.

According to the African Economic Outlook published in May 2015, over the 12 months from July 2013 (the country’s fiscal year runs from July-July), all of the economy’s main sectors performed well. Agriculture (which represents 40.2 per cent of GDP) grew by 5.4 per cent, industry (14 per cent of GDP) expanded by 21.2 per cent and services (46.2 per cent of GDP) rose by 11.9 per cent.

This positive growth should continue for the coming two years, although constraints on private sector development could slow its momentum, the Outlook says.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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