ETHIOPIA – The World Bank (WB) has approved a US$195 million grant financing to support development of the healthcare sector in Ethiopia as well as to aid in intensifying their efforts to scale-up COVID-19 vaccination.

The timely funding will bring sustainable support to Ethiopia’s overburdened health system to combat the spread of COVID-19 by scaling up the country’s vaccination rate which currently remains below 30 percent.

The financial will further boost Ethiopia’s health system to ensure prompt delivery of essential maternal and child healthcare, nutrition, and other key services since health service delivery in Ethiopia had been disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with conflict in various parts of the country.

The grant will help address damages to public health infrastructure and a lack of capacity due to conflict in different parts of Ethiopia in line with the World Bank Group’s Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence focused on sustained engagement in volatile environments and building effective institutions.

The latest support will increase the World Bank’s overall anti-COVID-19 financial support for Ethiopia to US$495 million aimed to help realize Ethiopia’s aspirations to administer COVID-19 vaccines to 60 percent of its population by 2023,” according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Finance confirmed that the funding will support Ethiopia’s efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines available nationwide and rehabilitate conflict-affected public health facilities to further help reduce the impact of COVID-19.

New public health emergency response online platform

Meanwhile, Ethiopia recently inaugurated an advanced digital platform dubbed ‘8335’ that offers sustainable public health emergency information to the public in five different languages to empower citizens in the management of their health.

The platform receives public health information from the COVID-19 portal and District Health Information System 2 (DHIS-2) as well as other relevant data systems from the Ministry of Health and partners.

The digital health information system provides public health emergency information concerning issues such as COVID-19, yellow fever, cholera, and guinea worm and the recent outbreak of monkeypox to educate the public about infectious diseases.

The online platform will also greatly enhance the country’s current health system since the public health emergency contact center integrates digital service provision of basic information relating to the fiver public hazards including COVID-19 as well as receiving alerts from the public.

In addition, the online information system serves affected areas and displaced people in some parts of the country who can now access important mental and psychosocial support information in an efficient manner.

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