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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs