Ethiopia: Ambassador Goosby Visits Ethiopia, Participates in Roundtable Discussions on HIV/AIDS Programs (December 2009)

During his November 2009 trip to Ethiopia, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, participated in a number of roundtable discussions on HIV/ AIDS programs with government officials, local service providers, and representatives from universities and professional associations.

The first of these discussions took place at Addis Ababa University and brought together the Deans from Jimma, Gondar and Hawassa Medical Schools, as well as representatives from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, professional associations and students. During the discussion, Ambassador Goosby stressed that a well trained and motivated health work force is key to strengthening service delivery. Ambitious government targets for training more health workers, especially physicians and midwives, require training institutions to be staffed with sufficient faculty and adequate facilities to support learning.

U.S.-Ethiopian academic partnerships are particularly important as incentives to in-country teaching faculty. With support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), one innovative approach uses computer technology to simultaneously transmit lectures to Addis Ababa medical faculty and regional medical schools.

Roundtable participants also discussed the Ethiopians Government's plan to greatly increase the number of physicians to be trained. A new problem-oriented curriculum is being finalized, but keeping staff at public health facilities remains challenging. To address this issue, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and professional associations are working together to develop incentives to promote improved staff retention and quality.

While in Ethiopia, Ambassador Goosby also met with local service providers from associations of people living with HIV/AIDS, faith-based organizations, public and private health facilities, local non-governmental organizations, caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, and mothers living with HIV/AIDS.

His discussion with local service providers focused on the unique nature of front-line service provision and the challenges associated with ensuring quality and comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. In a meeting with service providers across the continuum of prevention, care, and treatment, Ambassador Goosby listened to the stories of mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as nurses, counselors, and community organizers. Topics discussed included improving access to services, community care and support programs, and the impact of stigma and discrimination.

In a separate session, Ambassador Goosby also participated in discussions with heads of Regional Health Bureaus, HIV/AIDS Prevention Offices and key focal persons in other sectors. During this conversation, Ambassador Goosby learned about the regional capacity to deliver a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and how the U.S. Government can better support this in future years.

Ambassador Goosby's November 2009 trip to Ethiopia was his first since assuming the role of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator in June 2009.

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