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Analytical summary - Maternal and newborn health

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The maternal mortality ratio in Ethiopia is 676 per 100 000 live births, which is one of the highest in the world and is mainly a result of lack of access to health care, and socioeconomic and demographic factors. This maternal mortality rate remains a major public health challenge facing the country. Every year, 22 000 women and girls die during childbirth or as a result of complications of childbirth.[1]

The lifetime risk of a woman dying during pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 27. In addition, more than half a million women suffer from pregnancy-related disabilities. Obstetric fistula, a pregnancy-related disability, affects nearly 9000 women each year. For sociocultural reasons, the magnitude of the disability is significantly higher in rural areas where there is a strong tradition for young women to be married at a very early age.

In 2010, the number of HIV-positive pregnant women was estimated at 90 311, with 14 276 HIV-positive births.[1]

Although the overall household level of insecticide-treated net coverage has improved over the years, only 35% of pregnant women sleep under insecticide-treated bednets.[2]

With 83.6% of the population living in rural area, correspondingly 90% of total national births occur in rural areas.

There is a 3.1% teenage pregnancy rate in rural areas, while in urban areas the rate is 0.6%. By age, the highest rate of teenage pregnancy was reported at the age of 19 years.

Although there are significant variations among regions and education level of mothers, overall 29% of currently married women use family planning methods. The contraceptive prevalence rate has more than doubled in rural areas within the past 5 years, whereas the increase in urban areas is only 6%.

Antenatal care coverage for at least one visit is 28% but coverage for at least four visits declines to 12%. Postnatal care coverage reached 42.1%. Births by caesarean section are 1%; however, more than 90% of women in need of caesarean section do not have access to health services. Only 6% of birth are attended by skilled health personnel. The proportion of pregnant women counselled and tested for prevention of mother-to-child transmission was 66% and the proportion of deliveries of HIV-positive women who received a full of course of antiretroviral therapy was 24.6% in 2011.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Health Sector Development Program IV. Annual performance report. Addis Ababa, Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Health, 2010
  2. President's Malaria Initiative, 2011
  3. Health Sector Development Program IV. Annual performance report. Addis Ababa, Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Health, 2011