Emory Nursing Maternal and Neonatal Health in Ethiopia Partnership

Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia

Having a child is one of the most serious health risks for women in Ethiopia. The country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with an estimated 22,000 women dying each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. More than three million infants are born in Ethiopia each year, the ninth highest birthrate in the world. But infant mortality is also high, with 100,000 newborns dying each year. Most deaths occur in and around the time of birth. Although significant progress has been made in reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates, Ethiopia is far from reaching its Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal mortality by three quarters and under-five mortality by two thirds.

In Ethiopia, maternal and newborn health services are mainly delivered by family members and traditional birth attendants. In addition, more than 90 percent of births take place at home. On average, pregnant women and newborns have only a single interaction with frontline health workers from pregnancy through birth, much less than the ideal ten encounters for safe delivery. Such low levels of health care usage can be directly linked to the country's high maternal and newborn mortality rates.