Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Press Release)  – U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Mary Catherine Phee handed over 46 vehicles on behalf of the United States Government to the Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, for use within the National Blood Programs of Ethiopia.  This is the latest in a series of programs supporting the development of an effective and safe blood supply system in Ethiopia.

Since 2004, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been providing financial and technical support to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health to improve and strengthen the national blood service.  This supports the transition of blood services in Ethiopia from the Ethiopian Red Cross Society to a government-led and managed service under the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Bureaus.

CDC supports a number of activities aimed at strengthening blood transfusion services in Ethiopia to ensure the delivery and adequate supplies of blood to those in need.  As well, this contributes to a safe blood supply which helps in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis that are easily transmitted through transfusions.  Moreover, CDC is supporting the construction of 16 blood banks in 8 regions of Ethiopia which will greatly increase the accessibility to a safe blood supply.

With technical assistance from CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia now has a national blood safety policy and a 5 year strategic plan for the implementation of blood safety activities. Other core achievements in blood safety include training of prescribers and users of blood products to improve the therapeutic and clinical use of blood and the development of national guidelines, protocols, and standard operating procedures to ensure the delivery of high quality blood services.

The U.S. people have provided an estimated 2.4 million USD for the purchase of these 46 vehicles.  These vehicles will have a critical contribution to the effective delivery and management of the bloodsafety programs across Ethiopia and will greatly aid in saving thousands of lives.

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