USAID Contributes to Reduction of Maternal and Child Deaths

Midwife Yodit Meseret does a post-delivery check up with a new mother, Wro. Yeshi Getachew at the Bole Health Center.

Addis Ababa, December 20, 2016: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partner Jhpiego marked the successful completion of the Strengthening of Basic Emergency Obstetric Care Project of the global Maternal and Child Survival Program. The program established and/or strengthened basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services in 216 public health facilities in Oromia, Amhara, the SNNP and Tigray regions with the aim of contributing to the ultimate goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths within a generation. Results of the program include that 19,250 pregnant women received care prior to giving birth; 23,000 mothers successfully delivered at health facilities; 279 newborns who couldn’t breathe when born were saved through successful resuscitation; and 14,000 women received family planning counseling after giving birth.

In the past two years, the program helped health facilities to improve the quality of maternal and newborn health services by training birth attendants on the skills needed to manage childbirth complications, improve patient confidentiality and postpartum counseling and to follow up with new mothers. To ensure the sustainability and continued success of the Maternal and Child Survival Program, the program worked closely with the Ministry of Health to support the national Maternal and Newborn Health quality improvement initiatives, to increase postpartum family planning services and to drive the national Maternal and Newborn Health research agenda. In order to help institutionalize respectful maternity care, Basic Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care  and Postpartum family planning, 472 health care providers were trained through the program and center managers were trained on supportive supervision such as onsite mentoring and the use of quality improvement tools to ensure continued learning and improvement processes are in place.

The Maternal and Child Survival Program also supported comprehensive programming in maternal, newborn and child health, immunization, family planning, and reproductive health, nutrition, health systems strengthening, water/sanitation/hygiene, malaria, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and pediatric HIV care and treatment.

Speaking at the event, USAID’s Health Office Director Bethanne Moskov relayed the account of one woman who had benefitted from the program, “I was in labor for more than a day, tired and desperate both for myself and the baby in my womb. But my midwife Fozia was on my side throughout my labor, informing me of the progress and reassuring me. Eventually, I gave birth to a baby boy who was not crying. I was devastated. Though I was not sure the baby would survive, Fozia helped the baby breathe and finally, with God’s help and Fozia’s efforts, the baby started crying. He is now a healthy and smiling seven-month-old baby.”

The $3.8 million program was implemented by Jhpiego and Save the Children from 2014 to 2016. USAID will continue working in maternal and child health through its Transform awards which will be implemented in 8 regions, 4 in the major regions and 4 in the developing regional states working to support the Ministry of Health’s ambitious Health Sector Transformation Plan goals.