Deputy Premier calls for revision of health extension program

Addis Ababa, May 16, 2018 (FBC) –Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen has called for harmonization of Ethiopia’s health extension program (HEP) with the people’s living standard and lifestyle.

The Deputy Premier made the remark at the opening of an event organized today to deliberate on a document tabled to revise the existing health extension program.

The event attracted heads of regional health bureaus and health extension program.

“The remarkable successes achieved from the program in improving basic health service delivery in the country distracted us from our main effort,” he said.

The program has played a crucial role towards enabling Ethiopia to attain health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

However, it is important now to synchronize the program with the people’s living standard and lifestyle, the Deputy Premier indicated.

Moreover, the program should be revised since the type of diseases, unhealthy diet and use of addictive substances are expanding in the country, he noted.

During the past three years, political leaders failed to add on the success attained in the sector, said Dr Amir Aman, Minister of Health.

Moreover, problems of infrastructures also affected health posts not to function properly, the Minister added.

The health extension program was launched in 1997 and 2002 in rural and urban areas, respectively, to increase access to and use of preventive and curative health services across Ethiopia, including family planning services.

Since its launch, the HEP has trained and deployed more than 40,000 health extension workers across the country.

As a result of their deployment, maternal mortality rate dropped to 412 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016 from 1064 deaths in 1990.

Similarly, infant mortality rate also dropped to 67 per 1000 live birth from 244.

Translated and posted by Amare Asrat