A joint press conference to commemorate the 2019 World Health Day, under the theme, "Universal Health Coverage: everyone everywhere" was held at the Federal Ministry of Health, on 05 April 2019." H.E. Dr Lia Tadesse, State Minister of Health and Dr Chatora Rufaro, WHO Representative to Ethiopia gave the press briefing to invited journalists. The aim of the press conference was to communicate about the importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and primary health care and spur actions from individuals, policy makers and health care workers to ensure universal health care is accessible for every one everywhere.
Speaking to the journalists, Dr Lia said, "In the last decades, Ethiopia has made impressive achievements in effectively meeting the Millennium Development Targets. The success of the achievements was attributed, among others, to the coordinated efforts of the government, the public, development partners, health workers, and all other stakeholders".
"Regardless of those achievements, Dr Lia said, "Inadequate financial and human resources, lack of appropriate technologies as well as shortages of friendly and compassionate health facilities and health professionals affect rapid progress. Access to health services by everyone, everywhere with improved quality of services remains to be a challenge today." Emphasizing the need for greater concerted efforts to make UHC a reality, Dr Lia called on partners and stakeholders to increase their investment to facilitate universal health coverage to all, everywhere.
Dr Chatora Rufaro, WHO Representative in Ethiopia on his part, emphasized the importance of Universal Health Coverage to keep the world safer; "In Africa, major public health events are a recurrent problem. There were over 100 of these in 2018. This means that there can be no health security without UHC, and no UHC without health security. This is why our WHO Director-General talks about Global Health Security and UHC being two sides of the same coin. A safer world benefits everyone, UHC benefits everyone."
Considering the challenges of low funding for health, low availability of services and under-investment in the health workforce that African Countries are facing, he said, "the WHO is accelerating support to countries to re-align their services and consider strategic shifts to achieve UHC. Hence, he underscored the need to strengthen health systems which is very instrumental in ensuring Universal Health Coverage."In concluding his briefing, Dr Chatora reiterated that "the WHO will continue working with government and partners in Ethiopia to support efforts towards Universal Health Coverage.", and then he said, "Together, we can achieve the health and wellbeing we want for our people.