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World Health Organization Ethiopia Country Office (WHO-Ethiopia) through financial assistance secured from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD) handed over 1.3 million USD worth medical supplies and equipment to health bureaus of regional and city administrations in Ethiopia. The handover was made during a meeting convened to review the two-year performance of the WHO-DFATD project on “ensuring functional health service in the context of COVID-19 in Ethiopia”.

The medical equipment and supplies were handed over with a view of enhancing the service delivery of primary healthcare units in Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, Southern Nations and Nationalities (SNNPR) and Southwest Ethiopia regions as well as Dire Dawa Administration. 

State Minister of Health H.E Dr. Dereje Dhuguma, and Acting Representative to WHO-Ethiopia, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini handed over the donation certificates to senior officials of the respective health bureaus. The donated equipment and supplies include neonatal resuscitators, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, autoclaves, centrifuges, freezers, adult and paediatric weighing scales, stadiometers and sphygmomanometers, infrared thermometers, and several kits, including reproductive health, obstetric, surgical and midwifery kits. 

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Dr. Dlamini, said the diversion of health system resources coupled with public health and social measures to address COVID-19 care had led to a protracted and persisting disruption of essential health services at healthcare facilities.

The pandemic had not only resulted in reduced access to health facilities; reduced ability to pay for services, and reduced availability of staff to provide health care but also disrupted the supply chain system for essential medical supplies. 

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With a view of overcoming these daunting shortcomings, WHO Ethiopia in collaboration with DFATD Canada had devised and implemented, for the past two years, an innovative project focusing on strengthening the capacity of primary health care units and delivering essential health services while maintaining an effective response to COVID-19.

The project was implemented through the collaboration of WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health, regional health bureaus, local universities (Universities of Gondar, Debre Berhan, Jimma, Ambo, Hawassa, and Dire Dawa), district health offices and primary healthcare units.

According to the State Minister, the unique project approach and coordination between and amongst the ministry, regional health bureaus, local universities, and primary healthcare units in identifying and solving essential health care challenges had succeeded in avoiding an additional burden of preventable morbidity and mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia.

“The WHO – DFATD-Canada project on ensuring functional health services in the context of COVID-19 is playing an indispensable role in sustaining essential health services and building resilient and responsive health systems in various emergencies in Ethiopia”, Dr. Dereje said.

“Ensuring continuity of essential health services and building resilient health systems remains essential not only to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, but also to ensure readiness for other concurrent and future public health and humanitarian emergencies”, said Dr. Dlamini and added that WHO would continue supporting Ethiopia in building a health system that is robust, responsive & resilient to shocks and ensure universal health coverage through strengthening primary healthcare services.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.

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