17 November 2012

Ethiopia: Tolerance, Unity in Diversity


Ethiopia marked the World Tolerance Day for the 2nd time marked with different events with the motto "Through our tolerance culture, we will be a model to the world."

According to Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ethiopia is celebrating days like this because our peace and tolerance culture would help us protect constitutional rights. Indeed, peace and tolerance are the foundation for development as they highly advocate unity in diversity. True, people have to work hard to realize and sustain development, peace and democratization efforts the country is embarked upon by upholding their belief, thinking, culture, language, etc. and they have to respect one another's rights.

Even though, Ethiopia is a multi‐ethnic nation endowed with diversified culture, language, faith, religion, its people have been living in peaceful co‐existence for

centuries which has become a living model for the rest of the world because peace and tolerance is an embedded feature of their culture.

In cognizant of the crucial link between peace, tolerance and development, the International Institute for Peace and Development has run activities aimed at exploring the potential for future enhancement of peace, tolerance and socio-economic development in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Obviously, tolerance, dialogue, understanding and respect for one another are features of a peaceful and civilized society and are also of fundamental cornerstones for a sustainable solution to resolve conflicts. Although developed nations take credit for upholding and advancing this process, countries like Ethiopia have for generations used traditional and peaceful conflict resolving mechanisms like the Geda System of Oromo Nation.

Our unity in diversity is the source of our strength but it should not be taken for granted because it has not been tested yet in a big way. Therefore, we have to expand and build platforms for more dialogue and understanding amongst each other and watch out for those who try to manipulate and reverse the constitutional right that guarantees equal rights, privileges and responsibilities to all nations, nationalities and people of the country.

More attention to address MCH challenges

The Ethiopian Government has been in making aggressive and bold steps toward improving maternal and child health as evidenced by its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is also committed to the improvement of maternal and child health as a primary Health Sector Development Programme, as witnessed by certain scholars.

To this end, therefore, encouraging activities are underway by the Federal Ministry of Health through various programmes- health extension packages, midwifery training provision, among others both in rural and urban areas. Along with these programmes, the Ministry also works in collaboration with organizations or institutions who are engaged in providing same services.

For instance, the African Medical and Research Foundation(AMREF) has launched a campaign called 'Stand up For African Mothers' which aims at reducing maternal death by 25 per cent by 2015 through newly trained 15,000 midwives in Africa in which Ethiopia is one of the benefited countries in the continent.

Despite the fact that maternal and child health is an issue that needs immediate action it would not be fully addressed only by the government. International organizations, local NGOs and concerned stakeholders need to take their part in combating the problem by collaborating with government and with one another.

Likewise, the government should also support such organizations or institutions in all necessary ways in the effort to reduce MCH problems. Besides, awareness raising activities must be done intensively through health extension workers to reach out the community at grass roots level.

Furthermore, mothers need to learn how to follow up their health status during pregnancy and do the same for their newborns by regularly visiting nearby health institutions.

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