The Namibian government on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia whereby both parties agreed on the possibility for Ethiopia to second health professionals, experts and health professionals to Namibia.
In terms of the MoU Ethiopia has committed to continue providing scholarships to a specified number of Namibian students to go and study in that country. The two countries further agreed on a training programme for Namibian health professionals, including doctors, registered nurses, health technicians, pharmacists, paramedics and others. During the signing ceremony the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, once again reiterated that Namibia faces a critical shortage of health professionals and stressed the fact that the ministry finds it difficult to attract and retain health professionals in rural areas.
Early in March Cabinet decided that the health extension programme should be introduced in all regions. Shortly thereafter the Ethiopian ministry of health assisted Namibia to pilot the health extension workers programme in the Kunene Region through which about 40 Namibians were trained. The health extension programme was then rolled out to the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene regions where a total of 565 health extension workers are currently undergoing training. The health extension workers act as a bridge between the community and public health care clinics.
They also promote health and educate people on how to prevent diseases in communities, as well as promote immunisation and carry out maternal and child health assessments. Moreover, the Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu revealed that his country made a significant effort to improve health delivery. Admasu said Ethiopia has already achieved targets on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and also reduced its under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2012, thereby meeting the target set under the Millennium Development Goals. Read more
Five United Nations agencies, known as UNH4+ (UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WHO) and the Federal Ministry of Health signed an agreement with the Government of Sweden (through the Swedish International Development Agency – Sida) on the work plan for a joint project on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in Ethiopia, 2013-2015. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Hon Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopian Minister of Health, at the African Union Conference Center during the historic International Conference on Family Planning.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Kesetebirhan appreciated the support of development partners in the Government’s efforts to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. He further expressed his satisfaction at how the partnership is supporting the Government’s initiative, with the Government in the driving seat. “With such country ownership and continued support of partners, the achievement of MDG 5 is not out of reach,” he underscored.
Also speaking at the event, WHO Representative, Dr Pierre M’pele recalled that Ethiopia has already achieved MDG 4 two years ahead of schedule by reducing child mortality rates, and affirmed that the joint program comes “At the right time to strengthen the partnership of the UN agencies delivering as one and Sida with the Federal Ministry of Health to work together to achieve MDG 5.”
In its endeavor to maximize the impact of its support to the Government of Ethiopia, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is working with the principle of Delivering as One and strengthening joint efforts of the UN agencies in advancing priority areas within the development agenda. Both the Government of Ethiopia and the UNCT recognize maternal and newborn health as one of the top priority areas that require the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the few years remaining of the MDGs. This work plan for the Sida/H4+ grant contributes to filling gaps in the current joint efforts by UN agencies in supporting the FMOH for implementation of the National Road Map for Accelerating Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality and Morbidity, and thereby pave the way for Ethiopia to meet MDG 5 of by 2015, reducing maternal mortality ratio and increasing access to reproductive health.
This blog post is extracted from World Health Organization Ethiopia Country Office media release.