Eritrea has a positive and unique story to tell about health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Eritrea was one of the few countries expected to achieve the MDGs in health. As expected, Eritrea has now achieved all the three health MDGs namely MDG-4, reduce child mortality, MDG-5 improve maternal health and MDG-6 combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Based on the latest data available and through an analysis of the trends of the eight MDGs, as well as the current supportive policy and political environment in Eritrea, this report tells the Eritrean experience in achieving MDGs 4, 5, 6.
Specifically, this report highlights innovations, best practices, as well as challenges and bottlenecks that need to overcome in order to sustain the gains achieved thus far.
With less than 500 days to MDG deadline, many countries have started to note lessons that can assist in the formulation and management of its successor framework.
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The lessons drawn from the Eritrea’s successes in the health sector which could help formulate, shape and implement the post-2015 global development agenda include:
1) A strong Government, with the ability to motivate and mobilise people behind a clear goal is key to progress. The EPLF has managed to generate a unique sense of community among a diverse group of ethnicities and religions.
2) Community participation and involvement in health service delivery both helps, alleviate shortages of skilled staff and brings, services closer to the community. This has also had an important impact on awareness at the community level and, as such, has removed barriers to the dissemination of health information.
3) Investment in human capital as a key driver of development. The Government foresaw future needs and made long-term investments in health and education, although this has as yet not stemmed widespread poverty.
4) Government ownership of development projects and programmes is important to ensure sustainability and commitment to goals, as well as to avoid unpredictable shifts in donor priorities and/or financial commitments.
5) Effective coordination among sectors avoids duplication of efforts and allows for cost-effective projects. In the Eritrean health sector, what might have constituted rivalry between ministries has been transformed into opportunities to scale up services more efficiently.
6) A strong understanding and down-to-earth assessment of the resources available to foster development encourages both realistic actions and common-sense policies.
Report: Innovations Driving Health MDGs in Eritrea