The health policy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has given due emphasis to promotive and preventive interventions coupled with basic curative services. Consequently, the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention General Directorate (HPDP-GD) has been established to achieve greater public satisfaction by engaging communities and families in the inception, implementation and evaluation of health programms. Particular emphasis has also been given to halting common and easily preventable health hazards by transferring the necessary skills to empower communities to take charge and opt for healthy lifestyle.
Four major health programme areas have been integrated within the HPDP-GD:
- Maternal and Child Health
Ethiopia is one of the signatory countries that have committed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. As such, the HPDP - GD strives to achieve the MDG 4 and 5 targets for maternal and child health by designing and executing various innovative approaches.
- Communicable Disease Prevention and Control
The HPDP – GD seeks to control and eliminate, whenever possible, communicable diseases by utilising the full potential of the Health Extension Programme (HEP), by accelerating the training of model families as well as availing proven interventions and services to the community.
- Hygiene and Sanitation
Ethiopia has made commitments to achieve universal sanitation coverage by 2012. Taking into account the tremendous progress made in the country over the last 4 years, Ethiopia is in pole position to achieving this target. This is due to the Health Extension Programme and the resultant social mobilisation and open-defecation-free movements taking place at the community level.
- Information, Education, Communication (IEC) and Advocacy
IEC and advocacy activities are strengthened by moving away from disease specific to all health-related risks. Comprehensive and holistic communication strategies are developed and aim at the major public health problems.
- The above programmes, which were delivered in a separate and vertical approach in the previous health care delivery system are integrated and harmonised in the new Health Extension Programme. The HPDP-GD together with the Medical Services Directorate proposes to empower families and communities to be key players in the health development programmes along with the holistic support from the Government and development partners.