The Eritrean government’s healthcare policy is to serve the Eritrean people by fully utilizing modern medicine through building infrastructure, equipping modern equipment, and developing human resources.
Over the last two decades, the government has made significant efforts to establish a sufficient quantity and distribution of competent health staff, which is critical for accomplishing national healthcare objectives. The efforts are part of broader reforms aimed at restructuring and strengthening the delivery of high-quality healthcare services across the country.
Before its independence, Eritrea had 93 healthcare facilities (16 hospitals, 5 health centers, 72 clinics, and health stations). In the last 31 years, the number has increased to 341, including health stations and referral hospitals, allowing 80 percent of Eritrea’s people access to healthcare services within 10 kilometers of their homes.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been supplying healthcare institutions with contemporary medical equipment through incremental capital expenditures during the last two decades, in addition to constructing new and refurbishing existing facilities. New medical equipment has increased the quality of healthcare services.
Automatic machines have been incorporated into laboratories in recent years to modernize them. Clinical chemistry laboratories, which were formerly restricted to national laboratories, are now available in referral hospitals throughout the country’s six regions. All national and regional referral hospitals have also received the Genexpert PCR machine.
Among the important pieces of disease detection equipment introduced at Orotta National Referral Hospital are modern and automatic blood chemistry analysis devices, electronic microscopes, hormone analysis, cancer screening, dialysis machines, CT scans, and MRI machines. Furthermore, Orotta National Referral Hospital’s Radiology Department now has cutting-edge diagnostic equipment that is linked to a local area network for local physicians and an Internet-based connectivity to the rest of the world, enabling telemedicine.
The old analog X-ray machines have been replaced with digital X-ray machines, allowing the results to be shown on an A4 sheet. Audiometry is one of the cutting-edge technologies available at the Orotta Facility ENT hospital.
The COVID-19 central laboratory was developed with cutting-edge equipment to combat the pandemic, including a biosafety cabinet, robot reagent dispensers, RNA extractors, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Solar energy in healthcare institutions, as well as generators in referral hospitals, has had a significant impact. During blackouts, hospitals use backup generators to keep normal operations running, whereas health clinics in remote areas may use solar power to keep medications and vaccinations in refrigerators. There are 101 solar power facilities spread across the country’s six regions.
The establishment of a chlorine-producing factory has facilitated medical and surgical procedures while also lowering the Ministry of Health’s foreign currency costs.
Another notable achievement of the last two decades is the installation of oxygen-producing equipment at referral hospitals. These machines generate oxygen for use in hospitals and distribution to health stations. Hospital Bet Mekea, National Referral Hospital Orotta, Regional Referral Hospital Mendefera, and Regional Referral Hospital Barentu have all begun producing and distributing oxygen. The machines deliver oxygen straight to hospitals’ intensive care units, emergency wards, and operating theatres, saving medical professionals the burden of lugging oxygen cylinders.