“A Healthy Mother: A Healthy Nation”

“A healthy mother gives birth to a healthy nation” and a healthy nation holds peace and prosperity. High life expectancy, economic growth, political stability and social equality are elements of a healthy nation. States work to realize these ambitions with a special investment on family, since it is the basic unit of a society. A mother’s reproductive and caring gifts make her the most influential member of a family. Education, government’s special investment on maternal health, socio-economic status and cultural background are some of the many factors that affect mother’s health. Thus, a nation couldn’t be peaceful and prosperous until it holds a healthy mother.

Human resource is the most precious asset in nation building. States which have reached economic growth with limited natural resources, marked human resources as the most valuable asset. An investment on maternal health is crucial for human resources. A healthy and educated mother assures the flow of healthy, disciplined, conscious and skilled human resources. The interdependence of maternal health with education, socio-economic status and political situation of a nation makes the process of achieving a healthy nation, a long and challenging journey. Proving women’s equality and women’s educational enrollment, combating harmful practices like FGM and reducing maternal mortality are prior goals governments strive to achieve.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Sub-Saharan Africa has a high proportion of maternal mortality. It reaches about the levels of 686 per 100,000 live births (Gebremichael: 2017: 1). In Eritrea, health is an integral part of the national development program. Hence, the Eritrean government has been extensively working on safeguarding equal provision of health services, particularly on mother and child health, to accomplish healthy and skilled human resource.

During the Eritrean armed struggle, realizing women’s equality was the top priority. The EPLF had the belief that “No revolution succeeds without women’s participation”. The implementation of the slogan “Equality through practical participation” led to women’s equality. The struggle for independence was going along the struggle for women’s emancipation. Post- independence, the Eritrean government extensively worked for women’s equality through the provision of education and health services.

According to the Eritrean national charter, “Eritrea cannot modernize without the full participation of Eritrean women, as occurred during the independence struggle. The solidarity between women and men, which worked miracles during the struggle, should become the basis for the new Eritrea. Eritrea must be a country where both genders live in equality, harmony and prosperity”.

Educating a woman is emancipating the woman in particular and the society in general, from socio-economic and cultural barriers. Without woman’s emancipation, nation building is hard to achieve. Education makes a woman an active and conscious teacher of every existing and coming generation. In Eritrea, women’s educational enrollment is so encouraging. In higher education it is inspiring that it has almost reached 50%. “Mother’s level of education is inversely related to her child’s risk of dying. Although the relationship is not linear, children born to mothers with no education suffer the highest mortality at all ages” (Gebremichael: 2017: 1).

In eradicating woman’s harmful practices like FGM, the Eritrean government has been working on a family level. According to the findings of the Eritrean government in partnership with UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), “revealed that the steepest rates of decline between 2010 and 2018/2019 among girls under the ages of 15 (from 33.2 to 3.8 per cent) and under the age five (12. 4 per cent to 1 per cent)” (Eritrean report: 2021).

Reducing maternal and child mortality to the lowest level is Eritrean government’s prior-action in national development. Provision of antenatal, delivery and postnatal care have been showing promising results. The Eritrean ministry of health worked in an effort to achieve declines in “currently static neonatal mortality rates (18/1,000 live births) and stillbirths (25/1,000 live births), while still maintaining immunization coverage at 95 per cent” (Eritrean report: 2021). Consequently, child’s immortality rate and life expectance dramatically elevated.

In conclusion, there is no wealth like mother’s health. Guaranteeing women’s educational enrollment, equality and efficient provision of health services (focused on maternal and child mortality) paves the way to a healthy mother. This delivers states’ healthy, conscious and skilled human resources, besides to peace and prosperity. In this context, Eritrea is registering promising success in proving women’s equality, fighting against harmful practices inflicted on women, reducing maternal mortality and so on. Thus, “a healthy woman is a healthy nation” therefore, let’s invest on them for our bright future.

Written by Kidane Shmendi

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