WHO/AFRO-UK high-level delegation starts visit to Ethiopia

WHO/AFRO-UK high-level delegation starts visit to Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, 23, February 2018 – A high level joint WHO/AFRO-UK delegation has been visiting Ethiopia since 20 February 2018. The delegation is led by Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England. Dr Moeti and Dame Sally Davies are accompanied by senior officials from DFID, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and senior officials of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO).

The visit falls within the context of the WHO/AFRO-UK collaboration framework and the discussions focus on how best to strengthen health security in Africa. The delegation is visiting Ethiopia one year after the official launch of the Africa CDC, established by the African Union to help address health emergencies and outbreaks on the continent. In August 2016, WHO and the African Union Commission signed a collaboration framework on the establishment and operationalization of the Africa CDC.

On 22 February 2018, the delegation went on a field trip to Jigjiga zone, located in the Ethiopian Somali region outside of Addis Ababa, to visit some health initiatives. The delegation was received by the Head of the Regional Health Bureau and Advisor to the Regional President, as well as other senior government officials.

In the course of that trip, the delegation visited the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Collage which is home to approximately 9,000 families. It also visited the stabilization center near the camp as well as Karamara hospital.

The Head of the Regional Health Bureau presented the overall context of the region, focusing on the current health system, emergency preparedness and response as well as collaboration with partners, including WHO. The delegation also discussed with community health workers to get an overview of the health initiatives in the region. Finally, Dr Moeti commended the Regional Health Bureau team on their good hospitalization facilities.

This high level mission started on 21 February with a review meeting that discussed the UK-WHO/ AFRO Action framework agreement. This session was attended by technical teams from AFRO, the UK and the WHO Country Office (WCO) health emergency programme. During the meeting, participants reviewed the progress made since the last joint meeting held in Brazzaville in 2016 and discussed new actions and targets.

The WHO representative opened the meeting with a brief address and presented a summary of achievements under the Ethiopia Emergency Response of 2017. This was followed by discussions. The health emergency team in the country office presented an overview of the WCO health emergency programme, including IHR and health systems strengthening.

The delegation also held a working session with the Africa CDC technical team at the African Union headquarters and visited the premises. It held fruitful discussions focused on clarifying the respective mandates of the African Union and the Africa CDC, as well as their working relationship with WHO/ AFRO in various areas, including health security in Africa. It also discussed the working relationship between AFRO and the UK technical team. The discussion was led by Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa CDC, and Dr Socé Fall, the Regional Emergency Director in charge of the WHO Health Emergency Programme (WHE) at AFRO.