Addis Ababa 05 April, 2018: The 2018 World Health Day (WHD) in Ethiopia commemorated by a joint FMoH-WHO press conference which was held on 05 April 2018 at Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia (FMoH). The National Press Conference was led by H.E. Dr Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health and Dr Akpaka Kalu, WHO Representative to Ethiopia. The aim of the press was to inform the media and the public at large on the importance of the occasion. The Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia organized this press conference in collaboration with WHO with the theme “Optimizing the Health Extension Program” and it was attended by a large number of local journalists from private and public radio and TV stations, as well as the FMOH and WHO staff.
In his briefing to media communities, H.E. Dr Kebede Worku highlighted the f World Health Day which is being commemorated every year on 7 April is very important event that marks the birth of the WHO under various health related themes. In relation to the global theme for the year, “Universal health coverage, everyone everywhere”, he emphasized the need to bring health extension program (HEP) in focus and promote for further strengthening as HEP is one of the strategies adopted by the government of Ethiopia (GOE) with a view to achieving universal coverage of primary health care. He added the HEP effort has been acknowledged for achieving good result to reach the community at large with the country’s limited resource.
Ethiopia has adopted national theme of this year WHD as “Optimization of Health Extension Program” and the country is now working hard to enhance the effectiveness of the program. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for African Region , has also praised Ethiopia’s HEP in her WHD 2018 message saying “Ethiopia exemplifies how investment in health workers, and specifically community health workers, contributes to improved delivery of essential health services. ”
Speaking to media on the role that the health extension program played in the past; H.E. Dr Kebede said that “Ethiopia has made tremendous efforts in the past decades to expand primary health / basic health care services to all sects of the population and this expansion constitute health extension program, expansion of health posts, health centers and the community which significantly contributed to the improvement of the health of our populations, and in return helped reduction of under-five and maternal morbidity and mortality and in achieving MDG goal.”
Dr Kebede also underscored that the Federal Ministry of Health works hard for sustainable means of creating and expanding accessibility of health services by considering the increased number of Health Extension Workers which was 2 HEW per kebele level as well as in upgrading their training level to level IV, increasing the number of health posts, and essential medicines. He then called for concerted efforts to strengthen the health extension program with increased investment.
Dr Akpaka Kalu, Representative to WHO Ethiopia on his part, said that every year, the WHD remains an important occasion as it is celebrated to mark the commemoration of the World Health Organization birth day with different health issues. He highlighted the 2018 WHD is not only the 70 years anniversary of the WHO but it marks also the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration with its popular goal “Health For All” and primary care as the foundation to reach that goal.
In connection with this year global theme “Universal health coverage, everyone everywhere” Dr Kalu stressed that “There are impediments that prevent people from accessing health care though it is a fundamental health right; but Everybody deserves to access health care services whether he/she has money or not.” He also underscored the need to do more to prevent everyone from financial constraints and appreciated FMoH for initiating community based health insurance. He then reaffirmed WHO’s commitment in this regard to continue supporting progress and to ensure that universal health coverage become a reality, so that no one is left behind.
Finally, after the end of the press conference, H.E. Dr Kebede Worku and Dr Akpaka Kalu were interviewed by different media exclusively.
For Further information please contact
Dr Sofonias Getachew, NPO/HSS; Email: asrats [at] who.int; Tel.0911 41 62 48
Wassihun Melaku Belay, Social Mobilization Officer; Email: belayw [at] who.int; Tel.0919-795722
Selamawit Yilma, EPI Communications Officer, Email: yilmas [at] who.int; Tel 0911-671134