News / Africa

Africa: Using Health Scorecard to Monitor Child Mortality Rates

Mothers from southern Somalia hold their children at medical center in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 3, 2011.
Mothers from southern Somalia hold their children at medical center in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 3, 2011.
African governments will implement a health scorecard to reduce child deaths on the continent. Delegates attending the African Child Survival Conference also set higher targets to bring down the child mortality rate.
 
The health scorecard is a monitoring system that publicly collects and reports health data and it has produced good results in several African countries such as Ethiopia. Delegates adopted the scorecard to reduce child deaths as they gathered at the African Union headquarters for the African Child Survival Conference. They also set a new target date by which child deaths should be reduced.
 
Peter Salama is the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative to Ethiopia. He is impressed by the new commitments made by African governments especially the commitment to the scorecard:
 
“They’ve agreed to bring down child mortality to 20 per 1000 live births.  What that means is these poor countries have agreed to bring child mortality down to the levels of an upper middle-income country, right across the continent. They committed to make sure this is not just an empty promise, and that’s really through this initiative of strengthening robust monitoring systems, one of which will be this national scorecard," Salama said.

The scorecard consists of three parts:   information on policy issues and availibility of resources, information on the process of treatment and information on the results of treatment.
 
Efforts to reduce child mortality are urgently needed in sub-Saharan Africa as 1 in 8 children dies before the age of five. One of the goals of the United Nations millennium development project is to bring down the mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. Many African countries are not on track yet to reach these goals as reduction is currently at 39 perecent.
 
Ethiopian Minister of Health Kesetebirhan Admasu hopes the new commitments will contribute to health policies in the long run. “Beyond 2015 we should consider and develop new strategies to ensure the inclusion of more innovative and proven interventions in equitable manner for children survival,” Admasu stated.
 
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the African countries that has not been able to improve its rates due to the conflict situation in the country. Still today, 158 out of 1,000 children die in Congo during birth. DRC Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi says the scorecard can reduce that rate:
 
“In Congo we are doing monitoring and we have a plan of evaluation and follow up but we don’t have a scorecard and I was very happy to see how Ethiopia presents its scorecard with each province and each indicator. Its why we say in DRC, from here to the end of March we must have our scorecard and to follow up how we can go forward,” Numbi noted.
 
The scorecard provides better data on what sort of policies are needed to eliminate preventable child deaths.

Peter Salama of UNICEF says the it can therefore be used all over the continent as it gives an insight on what causes children to die. “Making sure that you tailor your programs and interventions very much according to that evidence base. There is a large number of these interventions so you have to choose the package for your child mortality pattern in your country, and all of the countries are now working on these plans to refine them to make sure they choose exactly the right high impact interventions that are most cost effective.”
 
Even countries that have improved their rates when it comes to preventable child diseases, such as Namibia, are positive about introducing the scorecard. But Namibian Minister of Health Richard Nchabi Kamwi says regional integrated health approaches are just as important to fight other diseases that kill children such as malaria:
 
“The next step is to engage other colleagues because there is no way that we alone can make it work. We can only work when we stand working together as a team,” said Kamwi.
 
United Nations officials say the most effective and efficient interventions for preventing child deaths are by tackling malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and neonatal mortality. The hope is to have ended all preventable deaths among children by 2035.

Liberia is currently the best scoring African country by reducing its under five-mortality rate by 67percent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid