Speech in the Global Call to Action Summit Third Years Anniversary of: A Promised Renewed: ending preventable child and maternal deaths, New Delhi India.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honored to be here today, as a co-host, celebrating the third anniversary of the "Promise renewed" at the juncture of the end of an era of MDGs and the beginning of SDGs. Over the last 15 years, Ethiopia has made spectacular improvements in terms of child survival and overall health of its people. This was possible through the prevailing peace and stability in the country; healthcare reforms with community empowerment and ownership through the flagship Health Extension Program (HEP); sustained political commitment at all levels; innovative solutions to problems like task-shifting; emphasis on building a resilient health system by leveraging domestic and international support; and ensuring equity of access to primary healthcare, providing key priority services and ensuring the worse off are not left behind.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The government of Ethiopia is committed to end preventable maternal and child deaths. This will be possible through unwavering political commitment, community ownership, and universal health coverage of high impact interventions. To consolidate the gains that were made during the MDGs and accelerate the progress towards the noble cause of ending preventable maternal and child deaths the Ministry of Health has developed a 5-year-Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP) 2015-2020. The plan has set out ambitious goals to be achieved in this period. I would like to state four of the transformational agendas that were set out in this plan.
Ensuring "Quality" & Equity" in health care: Equity and quality are the core goals of the health sector transformation plan, which aspires to build a high performing health system.
Ethiopia has demonstrated remarkable progress in expanding access to health care that resulted in dramatic improvements in critical health indicators. The gains have been as a result of improvements in health status amongst disadvantaged groups, particularly those living in rural areas. Despite this progress, substantial inequalities still exist in health outcomes based on differences in economic status, education, place of residence and sex.
During implementation of the HSTP, efforts will be doubled up to ensure equity in health care, which has the following important elements;
- Equal access to essential health services,
- Equal utilization of equal need, and
- Equal quality of care for all.
Equal access to essential health services for equal need implies equal entitlement to the available services for everyone, a fair distribution throughout the country based on health care needs and ease of access in each geographical area, and the removal of other barriers to access.
Achieving equity and quality will not be easy and will not happen overnight— most important of all, it will require a movement. This movement requires strong and able leadership at all levels of the system, robust participation and support of the community to ensure quality and equity of health care. A hands-on leadership training programs, therefore, will be designed and implemented to help health care leaders achieve equity and quality.
In order to improve quality and equity of health service, we will make concerted investments in 6 major domains; leadrship, information, community engagement, regulation and standards, organizational capacity, and redesigning models of service delivery.
" Woreda- Transformation" agenda: "Woreda" is a decentralized administrative structure in Ethiopia with an average population of 100,000 and is managed by local government structures (equivalent to a district). The HSTP has set very ambitious goals and aspires to transform the health system to deliver equitable and quality health care, which is a formidable task. This will only be possible if the Woreda health offices are transformed into high-performing entities that translate the national aspirations and the desire of the public into a reality. Woreda transformation initiative will build on the existing system of governance by increasing the accountability of service providers to beneficiaries, and by encouraging people to engage as active partners in service delivery.
The woreda transformation agenda has three simple and interrelated goals. These goals are graduation of modele Kebeles, developing high-performing primary health care units (PHCU), and achievement of universal health coverage with financial risk protection.
Information Revolution agenda: This agenda aims at creating capability at all levels of the health system to analyze data and use it for decision making at local level. This requires data savy managers and a mechanism to encourage them to collate and analyze those data elements that are not reportable to higher level of the systm. We also aspire to digitize the 18 million family folders we rolled out throughout the country and have a natinal electronic HMIS. Data integration is also another important component of the agenda.
Developing caring, respectful and compassionate health professionals agenda: We are targeting to develop caring, respectful and compassionate health professionals, who are motivated and committed to help the country achieve equitable health outcomes.
The development of caring, respectful and compassionate health workers requires a multi-pronged approach from reforming the recruitment of students for health sciences, to improving the curriculum of the various disciplines, and effective management of the health professionals that are already practicing. The CRC agenda requires ownership and engagement of the leadership at different level of the system. It calls for inspirational leadership that aims at creating enabling environment for health professionals to exercise their profession. It is also important to identify and engage model professionals as part of this movement. National, regional, and facility level ambassadors (who should be health professionals with impeccable standard and reputation) for CRC will be designated and be supported to promote CRC. An advocacy campaign through mass-media will also be launched to project the positive image of health professionals. Patients and the general public will also be engaged in this movement. An annual health professional recognition event will also be organized to appreciate and recognize the best performing health professionals. We will work hard for compassion, care and respect to be a culture, self-driven inner motive and a legacy that generations leave to their successors and predecessors proudly inherit. In addition to the above, we will be putting in place a favorable legislative framework to reinforce CRC which would include regulation on patients' rights and responsibilities (PRR).
These transformation agendas are interrelated with each other and anchored on building a strong and resilient health system. In turn, a strong & resilient health system is the very foundation whether it is for improving Maternal Child Health (MCH), Disease prevention and Control, or effective management of public health emergencies…etc.
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
With effective implementation of the HSTP, we are looking at reducing maternal, under-5 and neonatal mortalities by more than half and hitting 199/100000 LBs, 30/1000 LBs and 10/1000 LBs by 2020. Average life expectancy at birth will reach also 69 from 64 now. And for this to come true, we count on the strong government leadership commitment, robust community ownership and the strong and continued international partnerships.
In closing, I call up on all of us here to join hands to make the world a better place for mothers and children and work together and share knowledge and experiences that will enable us end preventable maternal and child deaths in our generation by 2030. We can and we must translate Mothers' and Children's rights into realities!!
I wish you fruitful discussions and deliberations.
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