Reforming the health sector, advocating maternal and children’s health, helping Ethiopia achieve the Millennium Development Goals are some of former Health Minister, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu’s achievements during his term, between 2012- 2016. He was born and raised in an area commonly known as Cherkos, attended his primary school in Feleg Yordanos and went to Abiyot Kirs for high school. Then he went to Gonder Medical college for BA and post graduate studies. Before he became minister he served as state minster and director general in the Ministry of Health. Dr Kesetebirhan who is a father of two boys and a daughter has now been assigned to lead The Roll Back Malaria Partnership to eliminate malaria in developing countries. Capitals’ Tesfaye Getnet sat down with Dr. Kesetebirhan to explore his past work and his new job. Excerpts:
Capital: You have served four years as Minster of Health during this time there has been an increase in health extension workers. Is this your proudest accomplishment?
Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu: It is one of many achievements that I am proud of. I’m happy to have gone from being a doctor to an expert working in the Ministry of Health to a team leader, director general, state minister and finally a minster. Ethiopia has been progressing in health care and I think we are building a responsive system that addresses the needs of the community and that can alleviate public health emergencies.
Capital: What issues should the Ministry of Health continue working on?
Dr. Kesetebirhan: The health system in pastoralist regions like Somali, Afar and to some extent Benishnagul and Gambela to make it more relevant to the nomadic life style of these communities. Health finance is another challenge. It needs to have a broader base particularly more domestic financing. The Ethiopia health system heavily relies on donor financing so it is really important to think critically and find ways to obtain more domestic finance.
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