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NURSING STANDARD. 1994 Jul 6-12; 8(41):18-20.On May 23, 1993 after years of colonization and oppression Eritrea was a free country. From 1961 to 1991 an armed struggle was fought against the occupying Ethiopian forces. Health has always been on the agenda of Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front (EPLF). From 1970 onwards they set up clinics with mobile teams to encompass primary health care and health education. In hospitals, health centers and stations there is a shortage of qualified staff, a lack of transportation for referral of patients and in some places inadequate drug supply. The main causes of morbidity and mortality are malaria, malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and vaccine preventable diseases. 30% of neonatal deaths are thought to result from tetanus. Anemia, multiple, closely spaced pregnancies, and complications of child birth contribute to maternal mortality. Economic difficulties, food insecurity, and limited access to safe water exacerbate health problems faced by the Eritreans. Over a million people sought refuge in neighboring countries or in the West. Christian Outreach has been involved with Eritrean refugees in Sudan since 1986, providing health care in a camp on the Sudan/Eritrea border. Hospital, out-patient and maternal and child health facilities were provided along with comprehensive community care and health education. Training courses for the Eritrean health workers have been established to encompass all aspects of primary health care. The Ministry of Health of Eritrea is to promote a system of primary health care throughout Eritrea by the extension of rural health services, the prevention and control of disease, and promotion of community involvement. The goal is the promotion of child survival and development, maternal well-being and the improvement of overall access to health services. The school of nursing will provide courses to allow barefoot doctors to upgrade their training while training civilians as nurses, midwives, and health assistants. The aim is to provide one health station for every 10,000 people instead of the current 72,000.