The JEE for Ethiopian Health Security Capacity Strengthening Validation Workshop Entertains Constructive Inputs
The Jont External Evaluation (JEE) for the Ethiopian Health Security Capacity Strengthening Validation workshop is accommodating comments and recommendations forwarded from experts drawn from the various stakeholders to enrich and validate its results from the previous two consequetive evaluation meetings for final submission. The workshop will be followed by site visits to selected health facilities.
The workshop is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL).
At the opening of this validation workshop Dr. Getachew Tollera, EPHI’s Deputy Director General said that the Ethiopian Council of Minsters recently issued a new regulation which gives EPHI a full mandate to serve as the national international health regulations (IHR) focal point in accordance with international and national laws, and also serve as the secretariat of national multisectorial and multidisciplinary one health implementation in the nation.
The Deputy Director General further said that it is now time for all stakeholders including governmental sectors, and our developmental partners, to leverage the existing multisectorial and multidisciplinary collaboration through sustainable coordination and communication mechanisms as this is one of the national priority agenda, we all need to undertake.
Dr. Mebratu Massebo, senior advisor to the Ministry of Health, said that as the JEE process, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of our country’s health security capacities. He said that, It assesses our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats, be it infectious diseases, natural disasters, climate related hazards or anything that may put our population at risk. The results of this evaluation will provide us with invaluable insights into our strengths and areas requiring improvement, allowing us to prioritize actions that will enhance our health security.
Dr. Mebratu, furtherly stressed that, the Ministry of Health will provide its commitment to the evaluation and reflects its dedication to a continuous improvement, accountability, and transparency in the field of public health. Hence the advisor confirmed that the institution unwavering commitment will continue to the health and well-being of all citizens, and determination to learn from the past while preparing for the future.
Dr. Feyesa Regassa, IHR-National Focal Person & National One Health Steering Committee (NOHSC) Chairperson on his behalf said that Ethiopia conducted the first JEE in March 2016 the findings of which was used to develop NAPHS 2019- 2023. Based on WHO’s recommendations on the periodicity of JEE and the need to develop a new Nationa Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) before the end of 2023, the ministry of health with Ethiopia Public Health Institute has started preparation to undertake the second round JEE to be followed by preparation of the second NAPHS 2024-2028.
Dr. Yohannes Girma, state advisor to the ministry of Agriculture, on his behalf stated that from our last JEE and other assessment we confirmed that Ethiopia has varied levels of IHR capacities with several good practices that can be adopted by other countries. However, continued investment in health security, especially as more than 60% of human infection are estimated to have an animal origin, is very critical in controlling and preventing diseases before spreading to human. Nevertheless, the animal health sector is underfunded to adequately implement the identified priority sets of policy, programs and strategic interventions.
Dr. Yohannes further mentioned that it is also highly recommended to sustain success areas achieved so far, and build upon the gaps identified, and rapidly implement the priority actions identified to further enhance the IHR core capacities, which in fact will not be realized without enhanced and sustained coordination, collaboration, partnership, and resource mobilization.
Dr. Patrick Aboke WHO representative, said that WHO is committed to provide technical, operational and financial support not only to strengthen the country’s capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies but also to monitor the implementation of IHR in Ethiopia. As part of this continued commitment, WHO regional office for Africa has mobilized 13 international experts, to conduct the external evaluation in collaboration with the team of national experts from different sectors and partners.
Mrs. Farayi Zimudzi, FAO country representative in Ethiopia, on her behalf said that FAO actively supports Ethiopia in implementing recommendations from the World Health Organizations (WHO) joint external evaluation (JEE) and improving health security systems. FAO’s contributions in Ethiopia include capacity building and training programs for veterinary professionals and stakeholders involved in disease surveillance. Mrs. Farayi also said that FAO promotes improving food safety measures throughout the food chain, aids in policy and strategy development, and collaborates with various partners in Ethiopia.
On the opening of the validation workshop, representatives from the CDC Ethiopia, USAID Ethiopia representative, and UK health security agency representative also delivered a speech.
The JEE process helps countries to identify the most critical gaps within their human and animal health systems, to prioritize opportunities for enhanced preparedness and response, and to engage with current and prospective partners and doners to effectively target resources. It is recommended that countries carry out an external evaluation at least once every four to five years to evaluate progress and enable the alignment of resources to address gaps.
It is expected that during these five days there will be a multi-sectorial and fully collaborative peer-to-peer discussions on the 19 technical areas defined in the JEE tools, accompanied by field visits on the selected sites.