Nation introduces Rota Vaccine

The Ministry of Health (MoH) inaugurated a vaccine against rota virus which helps the nation to decrease under five mortality. Annually, 28,000 Ethiopian children under five die from diarrhoea caused by rota virus.

At the inaugural ceremony of the vaccine at Zewditu Referral Hospital yesterday, Health Minister Dr. Kesete-Birhan Admassu said that the scaling up of the immunization programme in the country has made significant contribution to achieve MDG-4 (reduction of child mortality) by 2/3, three years ahead of time. “Our collaborative effort of bringing more life-saving vaccines into routine immunization programme will continue to contribute immensely towards the saving of precious lives,” he added.

Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia, speaks  On the Occasion of the launch of Rotavirus Vaccine introduction in Ethiopia

UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia Patrizia Di Giovanni said that prevention, rather than treatment of infection through immunization is one of the safest and least expensive means to avoid unnecessary child death. Ethiopia has expanded the programme of immunization with the support of GABI and partners. The implementation of the vaccine has been rapidly creating opportunities for providing fullest benefit of vaccines, She added.

She said that Ethiopia recognizes diarrhoea caused by rota virus as a formidable public health problem. As rota virus infection is associated with the most severe types of diarrhea in infants and young children, today’s introduction of rota virus vaccine is expected to save children’s lives lost to one of the leading causes of child mortality in the country — diarrhoeal disease. Read more

Ethiopia launches Rotavirus vaccine

A smiling child after receiving the first Rotavirus Vaccine in Ethiopia
A smiling child after receiving the first Rotavirus Vaccine in Ethiopia

The Federal Ministry of Ethiopia launches Rotavirus Vaccine at Zewditu hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This momentum in increasing efforts to reduce child mortality is a showcase to the country’s commitment to improve children’s health and survival. Ethiopia has recently become one of the countries who have achieved the Millennium Development Goal four of reducing child mortality by two thirds (MDG4), three years in advance.  

The event was marked by the presence of Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu and representatives from A.A city Administration Health bureau, WHO, GAVI alliance, PATH, CHAI, and the media. “The introduction of Rota vaccine will help Ethiopia consolidate its gain in reducing Infant mortality and end preventable child deaths” said Dr. Kesetebirhan in his opening remark. He stressed on the importance of partnership on Ethiopia’s Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) and acknowledged the support of UNICEF, GAVI Alliance, WHO, PATH, CHAI & others.

Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia, speaks  On the Occasion of the launch of Rotavirus Vaccine introduction in Ethiopia
Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia, speaks On the Occasion of the launch of Rotavirus Vaccine introduction in Ethiopia

Rotavirus, the most common cause of severe and fatal diarrhea in young children worldwide, takes the lives of more than 28,000 Ethiopian children under five each year. “Today, with this important new vaccine we have a golden opportunity to strengthen our efforts to advance innovative and appropriate approaches to reach the un-reached children; to further build the capacity of health workers, to expand cold chain capacity and to most importantly to renew our collective advocacy to mobilize communities to reap the benefits of routine immunization.” said Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia

Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu launches Rotavirus Vaccine introduction by giving the first drops to a child  at Zewditu hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu launches Rotavirus Vaccine introduction by giving the first drops to a child at Zewditu hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Before the end of the event Dr. Kesetebirhan was joined by the high level delegation of partners to vaccinate children in the hospital.

See pictures form the launch here.

Joint GAVI, Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO media release “Millions of Ethiopian Children to be Protected Each Year Against Leading Cause of Severe Diarrhoea – Ethiopia becomes the 17th country to introduce rotavirus vaccine with support of GAVI partners”

Patrizia Di Giovanni (UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia) speech during the launch of Rotavirus Vaccine introduction

Ethiopia celebrates Global Handwashing Day

By Demissew Bizuwork

Global Handwashing Day celebrated at Menilik II Preparatory School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Global Handwashing Day 2013 was celebrated in Ethiopia on 1st November 2013 under the theme “More than just a day-The power is in your hands”

Global Handwashing Day 2013 was celebrated in Ethiopia on 1st November 2013 under the theme “More than just a day-The power is in your hands”. The event was colourfully marked in Menelik II Primary School where officials from the Federal Ministry of Health, UNICEF, partner organizations, religious leader`s, and the school community all came together putting the emphasis on the importance of Handwashing with soap at critical times.

Washing Hands with soap can reduce the risk Diarrhoea by up to 45%
Washing Hands with soap can reduce the risk Diarrhoea by up to 45%

Though Handwashing is a simple practice, global facts indicate that an estimated 1,400 children under five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. In Ethiopia, diarrhoea accounts for 14 per cent of child deaths or an average of 106 children every day. Diarrhoea is also the second largest cause of under-five mortality both globally and in Ethiopia

Led by the renowned artist Sileshi Demissie, who is also hygiene and environmental activist, the school kids performed very enticing songs and drama on Handwashing. Officials and students alike were also involved in the easy to do task of Handwashing demonstration so that the behavior would be practiced regularly by the school children.

Ethiopia aims to ensure access to basic sanitation for all citizens by 2015, with 80 per cent of communities declared open defecation free, and that 77 per cent of the population practice Handwashing at critical times. Deputy Representative of UNICEF Ethiopia Ms Patrizia Di Giovanni on her message stressed that UNICEF is supporting the Federal Ministry of Health to develop National Handwashing Communication Guidelines. The guidelines will help mobilize mass interest among communities, especially children and youth, in making Handwashing with soap or ash a national social norm.

See pictures from the event here

News coverage by Ethiopian Television

Speech by Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Ethiopia, on the day

የአምስት ዓመቱ የእድገትና ትራንስፎርሜሽን እቅድ – ጤና [Five years Growth and Transformation Programme – Health]

In a recent interview with Ethiopian Television (ETV) UNICEF Ethiopia’s Health Specialist, Dr. Tedbabe Degefie said “There are 38 thousand Health extension workers in 15 thousand health posts around Ethiopia. They play a main role in achieving the countries goals by delivering service house to house and creating trust in the community.”

The programme which focused on Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Programme (GTP) also talks to Dr. Peter Salama – UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, who said “Ethiopia is one of the first countries to fully incorporate and integrate the global millennium development goals (MDGs) to its Growth and Transformation Programme, putting the country in a good position to fulfill the MDGs.”

See below the health part extracted from the full five years Growth and Transformation Programme in Amharic

To see the full programme on Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency – ERTA website click here.

Story on Ethiopia meets MDG 4 by cutting Under 5 mortality By Two-Thirds Since 1990.

Simple hand-washing with soap can cut hundreds of thousands of deaths: UN

In the Central Africa Republic in 2008, a child holds out a bar of soap. UNICEF distributed soap as part of a national immunisation campaign.

From Ethiopia and Yemen to Bolivia and Viet Nam millions of children are taking part in the sixth annual United Nations-backed Global Handwashing Day, driving home the message that the simple use of soap and water can slash highly preventable diarrhoeal diseases that kill 1,400 children under five every day.

“Washing hands before eating and after defecation drastically reduces the spread of diarrhoeal disease and has far reaching effects on the health and welfare of children and communities,” UN News quoted the global head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes, Sanjay Wijesekera, saying in a message marking the Day, whose theme this year is The Power Is in our Hands.

“The simple act of handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to save children’s lives.”

In Ethiopia, some 5 million children are participating in handwashing demonstrations and workshops around the country. In Yemen, Global Handwashing Day celebrations will take place in 3,300 schools, involving 1.4 million children. There is also a mass media campaign aimed at sensitizing the public around hand washing. Read more

Sustaining gains in health sector crucial: Ministry

The Ministry of Health has said works in the health sector have to be undertaken in an organized way to sustain the change registered therein.
Speaking on 15th annual review of the health sector development held at Mekele town, Minister of Health Dr. Keseteberhan Admasu said it has been possible to bring about a change in the health development through expansion of basic health service and training 38 thousand health extension workers.

He said Ethiopia has become one of the seven countries that have already achieved the Millennium Development Goal in reducing child mortality. Read more

Ethiopia Reduces Mortality Among Children Under Five By Two-Thirds Since 1990

According to latest UN estimates, MDG4 Target Achieved 3 Years Ahead of Time

Ethiopian Minister of health Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu (second from left) holds up the sign declaring Ethiopia has met the Millennium Development Goal 4, reducing under 5 morality by two thirds, at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Friday. Angela Spilsbury of DFID (1st from left); Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia (3rd from left); and Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia look on (Photo- ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2013/Ose) 

Addis Ababa, 13 September 2013 – The Ministry of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and UNICEF announced today that Ethiopia has reduced its under-five mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2012- the required reduction for meeting the target of Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) on child survival. In 1990, the under 5 mortality rate was one of the highest in the world at 204/1,000 live births; by 2012, this rate had been slashed to 68/1,000 live births.

The announcement follows the release of the latest global and country data from the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) and the annual report of the Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed Initiative, co-chaired by the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States. Globally, the annual number of deaths among children under 5 fell, from an estimated 12.6 million in 1990, to 6.6 million in 2012. Over the past 22 years, the world saved around ninety million children’s lives that may otherwise have been lost. Ethiopia has made a significant contribution to this success- each year around 235,000 more children survive to their fifth birthday than was the case 20 years ago in the country.

This achievement was driven by political commitment, advances in science and technology, and improvements in health, nutrition and family planning services, particularly in the rural areas. Indeed, Ethiopia has, in many ways, been at the forefront when it comes to ensuring basic services for women and children in the country.  In particular, by bringing basic health services to the doorstep of the rural population, the Health Extension Programme has made a significant contribution. Since 2003, more than 38,000 Government salaried Health Extension Workers, the majority of them young women, have been deployed to over 15,000 health posts right across the country.  “Achieving ambitious targets in the social sectors has been a central pillar of the Government’s Growth and Transformation Plan,” said Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, the Federal Minister of Health. “It is now clear that the key policy choices that we made in the health sector were the right ones.”

The announcement also carries broader significance since Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa and plays a critical leadership role on the continent through its current chairmanship of the African Union and its role in many other regional political and development fora. It also comes at a time when UNICEF and other development partners around the world are focused on accelerating progress in the final 1000 days until the MDG deadline. “In many ways the progress made in the health sector in Ethiopia has become a  powerful global symbol of what can be achieved in resource-constrained environments, and has given many international partners renewed faith in the enterprise of development,” said Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia has become the child survival benchmark for other countries, implicitly challenging them to do more for their own children.”