News / Africa

African Officials Urge Country Control of Health Care

Dr. Medhin Zewdu of Ethiopia says country ownership brings about commitment and sustainability

Iren Salama (L) holds her baby Pendo as it is given an injection as part of a malaria vaccine trial at a clinic in the Kenya coastal town of Kilifi, November 23, 2010
Iren Salama (L) holds her baby Pendo as it is given an injection as part of a malaria vaccine trial at a clinic in the Kenya coastal town of Kilifi, November 23, 2010

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

Health ministers from four African countries – Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone – are in Washington to push for greater ownership of their national health care programs.

They are expected to issue a “Call to Action” to help make country ownership of health programs a reality.

Dr. Medhin Zewdu, director-general of the Office of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, says ownership brings about greater commitment to the country’s health programs.

“As you know, countries are struggling to provide the best health services to their people and, you know, we have as the Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal mortality and also the fight against [HIV/AIDS] epidemic. So, we are calling for action because we need to move faster when it comes to ownership to ensure sustainability,” she says.

The four African countries are members of the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health which is leading the push for country-led development in health.

“The Ministerial Leadership Initiative is basically to support countries to have ownership of their own programs, of their priorities, of their needs, as I said, to save the lives of mothers and [the] lives of babies, and to provide, overall health services as a basis of human rights and dignity,” Zewdu says.

Zewdu said, without country ownership of their health programs, those programs will have no sustainability.

“In the old times, [development] partners used to come with their funds, with probably their own program agendas and the countries are just there to implement what they are told to do. And, in Ethiopia, we are saying that we have our own identified priorities and we want our partners to help us in achieving those targets and results,” she says.

At the Global Health Conference, being held this week in Washington, a panel discussion is expected to focus on whether donors would still support health programs when they are led by countries.

Zewdu says the days of one leads and the others will follow are over. Now, she says it’s time for partnership.

“Actually, I wouldn’t really want to use the words “countries lead and the others follow” because, in the past, it was donors lead and countries follow. So, instead of one leading and the others follow, I think we need to really talk of a real partnership and be mutually accountable; we can achieve the results in more effective way,” she says.

Zewdu said many donors today, including (those in) the United States, are moving toward supporting more country ownership of their health programs.

“If I take the U.S. Global Health Initiative, the GHI, its main principle is to promote country ownership.  So, countries know what they need and you know our U.S. partners and all other partners elsewhere are now trying to understand us and also approve that this is the only way,” she says.

She said, if donors want to help African countries realize the Millennium Development Goals in health, they must promote country ownership.

Zewdu admitted that not everyone is on board (with) the idea of country ownership of health programs.  But, she says it is a process that is slowly gaining traction.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid