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July 30, 2009 (All day)

Senegal: Looking inside the Health Ministry

 
  Dr. Bocar Daff, Senegal

 

As published in Global Health Magazine, July 30, 2009.

DAKAR, Senegal - The second-in-command at the Ministry of Health in Senegal said he had many challenges, but one was easy to pinpoint: reducing the number of women dying during childbirth.

"There's a lot we have done but there's much more to this in reducing the deaths," said said Secretary General Moussa Mbaye. "Improving reproductive health is a central issue in the development of this country."

Senegal, which has had a strong record in several health initiatives from HIV prevention to vaccination rates, still has high maternal mortality figures - 410 deaths for every 100,000 births. A Senegalese woman's chance of dying while giving birth is one in 21 over her childbearing years.

I am traveling in Senegal and Sierra Leone over the next two weeks for an unusual look inside health ministries - as part of a project for the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health, or MLI. MLI, a project of Realizing Rights at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., is one of the few non-profit groups aiming to improve performance in ministries, as opposed to funding specific programs.

Mbaye said the ministry has found two main problems in the country's efforts to reduce maternal mortality - not enough funding and too few women using existing health services. The government spends 10 percent of its budget on health, but just 2.5 percent of the health budget goes toward reproductive health programs.

To read more about Senegal's Ministry of Health, please see the original article at Global Health Magazine.

Photo Credit Dominic Chavez

 

In Senegal