By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
In monitoring the International Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), in accordance with the relevant resolution of the General Assembly, in 2015 the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) presented country by country statistical data, among others, pertaining to the percentage of women giving births attended by health professionals.
On the table on page 117, my country Ethiopia is also shown, as the last country on the planet as a whole with its 16 percent of women giving birth under the care of specialists. The data about East African states is as follows: Eritrea 34 percent, Ethiopia 16 percent, Kenya 62 percent, Somalia 33 percent, Sudan 23 percent, South Sudan 19 percent, Tanzania 49 percent and Uganda 57 percent.
When I saw this data on March 26, 2016, I was shocked. Immediately I tweeted how shameful and pathetic this is!
Two weeks since, things have changed and the Minister of Health announced that due to the enormous tasks carried out in the past six months alone, the number of Ethiopian mothers giving birth in health facilities has reached 60 percent, according to TPLF news agency Fana.
The Minister of Health Kesetebirhan Admassu pointed out that in the current budget year, which started in July 2015, i.e., ten months ago, the goal has been to raise the number to 77 percent. It appears that this serious task that requires a lot of undertakings, infrastructures, trained manpower, education to the local people in all parts of the country, is made to look like paper and pen work.
In terms of resources, the Ministry of Health in 2015 released data that Ethiopia has 7,022 health officers, 6,743 nurses BSC, Nurse diploma 37,074, 7,967 midwives (BSC + diploma). In addition, the same data show that the density of midwives per 10,000 population is 0.88. WHO’s standard, what it refers to as “critical threshold” distribution is 23 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 population (2010). On a list of 49 priority countries for WHO, which includes Ethiopia in 2010 the data show that Ethiopia is eighth from the bottom.
We have always known that growth and development under the TPLF is a matter of manufacturing numbers, not delivering development to the people and improving their lives.
Since Dr. Tedros Adhanom has been nominated from Africa to become WHO head, it looks like that this stiff juggling of the numbers is intended to show ‘his achievements’ as former minister of health? I doubt if this could move the obstacles before him, as a person who has been collaborator in the egregious human rights violations Ethiopians have experienced in the past 25 years. Nobody in his right mind would consider this as auspicious credentials for a candidate waiting to head the World Health Organization as its Director-General!