US launches USD 40 mln health financing program in Ethiopia

It was a busy week of diplomacy, charity, nation building and public engagement for the United States mission to Ethiopia.

US launchesUSD 40 mln health financing program in Ethiopia
US launchesUSD 40 mln health financing program in Ethiopia

The United States Mission to the African Union, in cooperation with the Corporate Council on Africa hosted the U.S. – Africa Trade and Investment Forum on Monday as an array of delegates from the United States converged to the capital to promote trade, private investment and business engagement within the continent. In attendance were corporate leaders, senior executives of African and American noted companies and American diplomats from within Ethiopia and from Washington DC.

“As the continental free trade agreement moves forward, it is important to bring United States business actors to help transform the (business) opportunities available within the continent and turn them into practical results,” the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, Mary Beth Leonard told The Reporter.

The United States launched a five year USD 40 million, Health Financing Improvement Program in the country. According to the local US embassy, the new initiative is to fall under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It is set to partner with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) to help the latter up its “policy and financing reforms that enable public and private entities to better provide primary health services while reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Ethiopians.”

USAID, as part of its work within the country, is known to be the architect of the widely successful community-based health insurance initiatives, providing basic medical coverage to almost 20 million Ethiopians and is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s healthcare sector.

“We look forward to continuing our joint work to tackle the challenges facing health financing as part of the overall efforts to build a truly sustainable and resilient health system in Ethiopia,”said USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed. “Together, we can show other developing countries around the world that with the right political will and commitment, it is possible to lay the promising foundation to a self-reliant healthcare system, capable of providing high-quality health services to all citizens, in every corner of the system.”

Inside Capital Hotel on Thursday, USAID donated medical equipment worth USD 4 million to various health bureaus in the country. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also held a week long capacity building training for 31 Monitoring and Evaluation officers from regional health bureaus around the nation. [Reporter]