The World Health Organization and Canada signed an agreement to ensure functional health services in the context of COVID-19 in Ethiopia. Through this agreement, Canada will provide WHO a grant amounting to 9.9 million Canadian dollars to strengthen the primary health care capacity to deliver essential health services, particularly for women, girls and vulnerable populations, while maintaining an effective response to COVID-19 to avoid additional preventable sickness and death among the Ethiopian population.
The WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo, thanked Canada for the available funding to support continuity of essential health services. He said, “The grant will not only strengthen the provision of quality, gender-responsive essential health services at primary care level but also boost health system resilience by building the capacity of regional and city health authorities to deal with current and future crises.”
This grant will benefit approximately 6.5 million Ethiopians in need, of which 50% are expected to be women. The remaining population of Ethiopia are indirect beneficiaries, benefiting from the efforts to strengthen both the federal and regional health systems, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services.
“Canada’s support will provide frontline health workers with the training, medicine, and equipment, including the personal protective equipment, they need to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19,” said Mr. Stephen Weaver, acting Minister-Counsellor and Senior Director (Development) in the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia. “This funding also ensures the continuation of essential health services for vulnerable populations throughout Ethiopia in the midst of this pandemic, including sexual and reproductive health and rights services. These services, in line with Ethiopia’s strategies and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, will address the different needs of women and men,” he added.
The objectives of the support are in line with the priorities of the Ethiopian government, and the immediate outcomes of the support will include improved competencies of health and care workers related to infection prevention and control and priority basic packages of health services. The project further aims to achieve increased access to essential healthcare services, including SRHR; better awareness of SRHR services for women and girls amongst communities and local authorities; increased awareness and capacity among decisionmakers on gender equality issues in relation to essential health services delivery; and improved ability to develop federal health strategies and plans that incorporate resilience elements.
WHO Ethiopia will continue to work closely with the Federal Ministry of Health and regional health bureaus to successfully implement the activities planned under the grant support, and to achieve reduction in the burden of preventable sickness and death in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among women and girls in Ethiopia.
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