Making a Difference through Concerted Efforts
Of the six Eritrean regions, the Central Region is known for its dense population. Providing social services and healthcare services that satisfy the demand of the entire population, therefore, becomes very imperative in mitigating health-related problems at ease. Establishing and reinforcing healthcare institutions varying in scope and standards–on the basis of services they render and essentially their quality–play significant role in minimizing the extra time that could be spent in waiting rooms, and thereby encourage patients obtain the needed care in time.
Central region has a total of 83 healthcare facilities ranging from hospitals to VCT centers that render services to 101 villages in three sub-zones and 59 administrative areas, of which the 13 administrative areas are in Asmara.
Of the major healthcare programs charted out to be implemented in 2010 include strengthening maternal and child health with a set objective of reducing maternal and child mortality rate by 4 %, ensuring availability of essential drugs by more than 80%, preventing and reducing mortality and morbidity caused due to tuberculosis, decreasing the incidence of severe and complicated malaria, and diminishing prevalence of blindness form 1.4 to 1% and the like are healthcare priorities.
Enhancement in prenatal, postnatal, and post abortion care, awareness raising campaigns against FGM as well as ensuring reproductive health commodities and supplies carried out last year have brought substantial improvements in strengthening maternal and child health. As was planed, last year’s medical supply have satisfied more than 80% of the demand. As regards prevention and cure of tuberculosis, there was a 100% availability of drugs and more importantly direct observed therapy short courses along refresher courses to 150 TV promoters was successfully conducted in three sub zones.
Malaria prevention and control programs are among many healthcare successes Eritrea has been registering. To sharply drop malaria’s occurrence and to prevent its severe consequences, a total of 3,600 insecticide-treated mosquito nets were distributed to different areas where prevalence of malaria is high. Since impregnated mosquito nets lose their effectiveness over time, around 12,000 more were also again treated with anti-mosquito to retain their effectiveness.
As part of the over all measures that have been taken to prevent blindness and as well to assist those with sight problems, two ophthalmology centers have been opened in accordance to last year’s set out plan. School based eye health programs for refractive and squint problems were introduced and more importantly training on primary eye care was offered to around 10 health workers.
The healthcare programs implemented last year were very comprehensive that cover details about enhancing the capacity of workers, employers and health providers in preventing and managing work related illnesses and injuries. In relation to this, major activities in monitoring and controlling of work environment hazards and assessing their broader environmental impact were effective in which around 120 industrial health workers were trained on injury maintenance.
Though the least in prevalence, all forms of diarrhea are among the top ten killer diseases. Keeping environmental health intact has been one of the Ministry of Health’s major activities as a solution to which construction of latrines in rural areas as well as securing hygiene of potable water sources have been successfully accomplished.
As this region centers the referral health service stations at national level, the healthcare services it provides is not limited to the inhabitants of the region alone. Taking in to account the fast growing urbanization in the region streamlining any structural barriers so as to render quality services as well as provide preventive services in healthcare takes the utmost lead in the endeavors of providing quality services. To meet good level of standards health care institutions such as Halibet hospital have been renovated. Bet-mekae Community hospital has already began to give services since June 2010. Likewise, renovation activities of Edaga Hamus Hospital was finalized and is now equipped with medical gas equipment, sanitary materials among other facilities. However, even though the health care services in major hospitals of the region have substantially improved, lack of gynecologist in Biet-mekae Hospital can be referred as a constraint that requires timely consideration.