United Kingdom Parliamentarians Visit Ethiopia to Acknowledge the Tremendous Efforts Made to Improve the Child Health
UK parliamentarians The Lord Sheikh, Dr Philippa Whitford MP and Mr Jonathan Oates (recently elected to the House of Lords); will visit Ethiopia from 28th September to 2nd October 2015. The delegation will meet with Health Extension Workers, the Women of the Ethiopian Health Development Army, decision makers at the Federal Ministry of Health, and Regional health actors and partners to look at the national health system and community-based health programmes This visit also aims to acknowledge the remarkable progress made by Ethiopia towards achieving health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) particularly in relation to MDG 4 (child mortality), despite being a low-income country. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has contributed significantly in supporting the Ethiopian efforts to achieve these goals. This visit is being facilitated by WHO Ethiopia and RESULTS UK, which is an advocacy organisation that works to mobilise resources and improve policies in global health through working with the UK Government and Global Health Initiatives. During a meeting on 28 September 2015 at WHO Country Office Addis Ababa, UK parliamentarians and WHO Ethiopia acknowledged the Horn of Africa's tremendous efforts to aggressively respond to end the polio outbreak in this part of Africa. This, along with the removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries by WHO on 25th of September are major milestones in achieving polio eradication in Africa. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said on this occasion: “The outstanding commitment and efforts that got Nigeria off the endemic list must continue, to keep Africa polio-free,” Africa is working in close collaboration with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to end Polio in the continent and no new polio cases have been reported from the continent since August 2014. Dr Tshidi Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said “This is indeed a historical milestone in polio eradication and global health”. UK parliamentarians, the WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Pierre M'Pele and the WHO Polio Coordinator for the Horn of Africa Dr Sam Okiror together acknowledged during their meeting today, the great contribution of Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa countries and Nigeria to kick polio out of Africa. Dr Philippa Whitford MP said “I was incredibly impressed about the detailed planning that has gone in to reaching the difficult populations and the progress that Ethiopia has made and the imagination and creativity that has gone to tracking and reaching every district and every child.” The Lord Sheikh also said “I have been impressed most with the dedication of the staff committed to achieving this result and progress”. In the past, WHO has facilitated similar country visits of parliamentarians from Canada and France advocating for child health and immunization in Ethiopia and Africa.