ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Friday revealed that the African continent has made considerable progress in improving health outcomes over the past few decades.
Executive Secretary of the ECA Vera Songwe, while addressing a high-level health-themed meeting in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa which was organized by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), said that considerable health-sector achievements were registered in Africa over the past years.
From 1990 to 2015 life expectancy increased from 54 to 63 years, according to Songwe.
The ECA chief also indicated that the number of women dying in childbirth and the number of children dying before the age of five nearly halved during the same period.
Songwe, however, stressed that despite the progresses made in the healthcare sector, efforts should be strengthened so as to achieve global and continental targets.
"Although this progress is commendable, it is not rapid enough to achieve the health-related sustainable development goals by 2030," Songwe said.
"Ethiopia too has been a witness to progress on health outcomes," Songwe said, adding that "The maternal mortality ratio declined from 871 deaths to 412 maternal deaths per 100,000 in the period 2000 to 2016." she said.
According to Songwe, the under-5 mortality rate had declined in Ethiopia from 166 deaths to 67 deaths per thousand live births from 2000 to 2016.
The high-level meeting was part of the "Africa Health Week" that has been underway in line with the African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit that was held last week at the headquarters of the pan African bloc in Addis Ababa.
The African Health Week brought together Africa's public health decision makers, health stakeholders, regional and global private sector, to harness the continent's potential and opportunities to financing its health sector.