By Yared Tsegaye
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health is calling for collaborative efforts to decrease the high rate of teenage maternal mortality. The ministry is advocating the annual safe motherhood month under the theme “For Safe Motherhood; No pregnancy During Adolescence”.
Amid concerns over the rising maternal mortality among teenage mothers, the Ministry says it is working to implement the ‘Safe Motherhood Initiative’ in organized approach. Advisor to the State Minister Girma Ashenafi said that there is a high rate of maternal mortality more specifically, he said, there is growing number of deaths being recorded with the pregnancy exposure of teenagers between the ages of 15-19.
The 2009 E.C data shows about 13 percent of young girls happen to be pregnant teens. “The Ministry of Health is very concerned due to this figure,” said Girma adding that the issue needs an immediate response. Girma spoke of efforts being made by the ministry in this regard, he said, “we have formulated a strategic plan, which is being implemented as of 2016-2020. We further, believe that the lessons that we can draw from this strategic plan in the coming years, specifically expanding basic health care in schools, will be a catalyst for our continued efforts.”
Adolescent and Youth Program expert at the ministry, Sister Aster Teshome stressed the need for coherent advocacy to prevent unwanted pregnancy among girls from the age of 15-19. According to Aster, every pregnancy below the age of 18 is unwanted. She mentions the 2014 revised policy document of 1993 to be a very convenient policy on adolescent and youth health. It mainly focuses on preventing unwanted pregnancy during teenage periods.
“We have plans to reduce teenage pregnancy from 13 to 3 percent. However, we need more advocacy works,” added the expert.
In line with the World Health Organization’s initiative, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health is working to create awareness on teenage maternal mortality. This commitment will be manifested staring from January 9 through 7th of February 2018.