ADDIS ABABA–Ethiopia’s investment in its healthcare extension programme in terms of physical access is a model for other African countries and the rest of world, says the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Ethiopia, Akpaka Kalu.

Addressing a media briefing alongside State Minister for Health Kebede Worku here Thursday, he added: “The investment in this country in the health extension programme is a model for Africa that you are extending health care to where people are living and working.

He added that there was investment being made to even upgrade health extension programmes and that was key example to Africa and the world. “We are encouraging many countries to draw this lesson from Ethiopia. Recently there is investment to extend secondary healthcare and enhance referral systems.

Kalu also pointed out that he noticed investment in implementing community-based health insurance in the country, which he said is a move in the right direction.

We, as the World Health Organization, re-assure you that we are committed to support Ethiopia, and support countries especially in Africa to ensure that universal healthcare coverage becomes a reality. When we say Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it means to everyone, everywhere; we are implementing the vision that no one should be left behind by 2030, he said.

Kebede said Ethiopia had been registering encouraging results in terms of providing healthcare for all communities across the country through the implementation of the national health package, which is the foundation for the health extension programme.

Kebede added that the nation had managed to register tangible results through the implementation of health packages and by building health institutions across the country.

In her message in connection with the 70th anniversary of the World Health Day, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Mathshidiso Moeti, said adequate and sustained investment in health is necessary for ensuring equitable access to health services.

The regional director added that several countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal and Uganda, had demonstrated that removing user fees systematically increased utilization rates of health services.

She said: Ethiopia exemplifies how investment in health workers, and specifically community health workers, contributes to improved delivery of essential health services.

Moeti stated that WHO will continue to support countries to build stronger, more resilient and responsive health systems to advance Health for all.

World Health Day is being celebrated on April 7, 2018 under the theme: Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.