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WHO Regional Director for Africa concludes visit to Ethiopia

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WHO Regional Director for Africa concludes visit to Ethiopia

World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti has just completed a week-long visit to Ethiopia to recognize the country’s efforts to support essential health services alongside response to the COVID-19 pandemic, learn more about the progress and challenges of the health response to the humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia, and reaffirm WHO’s commitment to support these efforts.

Dr Moeti met with HE President Sahle-Work Zewde and discussed collaboration to promote universal health coverage. She applauded the government’s early proactive efforts against COVID-19, which has helped keep the pandemic under control for much of last year. However, she stressed the need for a whole-of-government approach to the current upsurge, as well as a re-commitment to key public health measures such as physical distancing, limiting mass gatherings and wearing masks.

During his visit, Dr Moeti also met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Demeke Mekonnen, the Minister of Peace, the Honorable Muferiat Kamil, and the Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr Lia Tadesse. Together with Dr Lia, she inaugurated an emergency medical team training center in Addis Ababa, which will train regional and national health experts to better prepare for and respond to health emergencies in Africa.

“This training center will help improve the region’s response to health emergencies by providing much-needed hands-on training for health experts and improving country response capacity,” said Dr Moeti. “This will facilitate cooperation between countries and encourage knowledge sharing.”

Dr Moeti traveled to Tigray with the United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) and Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr Catherine Sozi, and visited an internally displaced persons camp where she witnessed first health and humanitarian needs, and explored with the Interim Administration the response to the humanitarian situation. She met the Honorable Mulu Nega, president of the transitional government of Tigray, and members of the leadership of the interim government for whom she stressed the risk of epidemics among the displaced people. Dr Moeti appreciated the efforts to restore the health system and pledged to advocate for more resources to support the humanitarian response.

“WHO will work with national and regional health authorities as well as partners to rebuild the health system in conflict affected areas to facilitate the resumption of disrupted health services and accelerate the response to health emergencies,” Dr Moeti said. “We will also be advocating with our global and regional partners to secure the necessary resources to support these efforts.”

The Regional Director also visited the Amhara region and discussed the health needs of the region with the Honorable Dr Fenta Mandefro, Vice President of the Regional State and his regional administrative team. She commended the efforts of regional health authorities to improve people’s access to health, including the successful implementation of the community health insurance scheme. During his visit to the Amhara Institute of Public Health, Dr Moeti praised the Institute’s leadership in the region’s response to COVID-19 and other health emergencies and pledged to continue WHO technical support to this first sub-national public health institute.

During his visit to Ethiopia, Dr Moeti met the Honorable Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development at the African Union Commission, and discussed continental health challenges as well as WHO’s efforts and contribution to the establishment of the African Medical Agency. and thanked her for the close collaboration on important regional issues.

Dr Moeti also met with the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr John Nkengasong, to take stock of the partnership between their organizations and discuss current priority issues, including the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine. and genomic sequencing of SARS-Co V -2 virus to detect the circulation of emerging variants.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa held virtual meetings with the new African Union Special Envoy for the African Medicines Agency, Honorable Michel Sidibé and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for the Africa (ECA), Dr Vera Songwe.

During the visit, Dr Moeti was accompanied by the WHO Regional Director for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Dr Abdou-Salam Gueye, and the Director of the Office of the WHO Regional Director AFRO , Dr. Felicitas Zawaira.

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