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 Thursday 04 October 2007
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ETHIOPIA: Government boost for universal primary healthcare

Photo: IRIN
Ethiopia says it has made progress against some killer diseases
ADDIS ABABA, 5 September 2007 (IRIN) - Ethiopia has stepped up recruitment and training of primary healthcare providers and is building more health centres in an effort to make such care available for all by 2010, health minister Tewodros Adhanom said.

"The target of 2010 is fast approaching," the minister told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on 4 September. "But it is possible to achieve this [the universal provision of primary healthcare]," he added.

Ethiopia has employed 17,000 health extension workers countrywide and their number is expected to rise to 24,000 - 80 percent of the required 30,000 - by December 2007, under the country's health extension programme.

About 3,200 health centres are needed - one for 25,000 people. There are only 635 health centres at present.

"We have secured the finance for the construction of 1,000 health centres which will be built next year," said Tewodros. "The regions will build an additional 1,000. That will make the target reality," he added.

Most of the resources for the expanded healthcare improvement programme will come from donors, the minister said. "But because donors have different and often complex rules and reporting requirements for the projects they offer to fund, and because we lack the staff to manage projects in accordance with their rules and requirements, we cannot actually make use of all the health funding that donors offer us," he added.

The Ethiopian programme falls under the International Health Partnership, officially launched by the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown on 5 September, whereby aid donors have committed themselves to fund health programmes in developing countries to help them achieve three key Millennium Development Goals – cutting childhood and maternal mortality rates and fighting disease, including malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS.

Paul Ackroyd, representative of Britain's Department for International Development in Ethiopia, lauded the country's healthcare plan.

"Ethiopia has a very good plan for health and is making spectacular progress against some of the biggest killers," he said. "In two years it has distributed over 90 percent of the 20 million bed nets needed to protect all of those who are at risk of malaria," said Ackroyd.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Health & Nutrition


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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.