Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Reaches Maternal Mortality Reduction Target, Says World Health Organization

The government of Equatorial Guinea has reached a 75% reduction in maternal mortality, reaching its UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target a full two years before the end of 2015, the deadline set by the UN, said a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report said, “Sub-Saharan Africa is still the riskiest region in the world for dying of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.”

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other agencies have  carried out several programs to raise the health standards in the country, which has seen vast improvements over the last 15 years. These include initiatives to eradicate malaria, improve food safety, build and staff hospitals and local clinics, train medical personnel overseas, provide potable water and electricity, and improve public sanitation.

According to new UN data, there has been a steady progress worldwide in maternal mortality reduction. Equatorial Guinea is one of eleven countries with high levels of maternal mortality in 1990 to have already reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of a 75% reduction from the 1990 rate by 2015. The others are Bhutan, Cambodia, Cabo Verde, Eritrea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Romania, Rwanda, and Timor-Leste.

Equatorial Guinea has experienced significant economic growth over the past few years, and it has made maternal health and access to quality health care for women a top priority as it invests the income it receives from its natural resources. This milestone is aligned with the President Obiang’s national development plan ‘Horizon 2020,’ which includes many of the benchmarks set in the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The government is also leading a polio immunization campaign throughout the country aimed at vaccinating the nation’s children against polio following recent outbreaks. The country has been working with WHO, UNICEF, UN, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to implement this proactive campaign.