On October 17, 2020 People 2 People (P2P) and the Network of African Diaspora Healthcare Professionals hosted the 12th annual Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education. The theme of the virtual conference was “The COVID-19 Pandemic; a Health, Social and Economic Crises”.
Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, President of P2P welcomed attendees before introducing the Ethiopian Ambassador to the USA, H.E. Fitsum Arega, for his opening remarks. He addressed the swift and comprehensive action taken by the Ethiopian government to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus and stressed the importance of continuing these efforts.
H:E: Dr. Lia Tadesse, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, then delivered the keynote address. She detailed the measures mentioned by the Ambassador including placing screening measures on all ports of entry, house-to-house surveillance, contact tracing, expanding facilities to care for COVID-19 patients, closures of schools and the suspension of public gatherings. Like the rest of the world, Ethiopia has experienced impacts to its economy due to the mitigating actions taken. However, the Minister stressed the opportunity that’s been presented to continue making significant improvements to Ethiopia’s healthcare system. The focus areas she highlighted included:
- Prioritizing health on the national and global development agenda.
- Continuing to strengthen existing partnerships and creating new ones for improved solidarity and health diplomacy.
- Investing in primary healthcare for resilient health systems.
- Capitalize on enablers like innovation technology and engaging the private sector.
H.E. Dr. Lia Tadesse left the attendees with a request, challenging them to continue using their knowledge and expertise to find solutions for the economic, social and health impacts of the pandemic.
The conference then moved into 3 engaging sessions, each of which included presentations and an interactive Q&A session. These sessions tackled the pandemic, lessons learned from Ethiopia’s COVID-19 response, the value of fostering strong partnerships to help find solutions and the social impact of the virus.
Finally, the meeting concluded with recognition of the 5 awardees of the 2020 P2P Annual Award
- H.E. Fitsum Arega, Ambassador of Ethiopia in USA – Excellence Leadership and Public Service Award
- James Bower, MD – Friend of Ethiopia Award
- Mesfin Araya, MD – Lifetime Achievement in Medicine Award
- Ebba Abate, MD – Rising Star in Public Health Sciences Award
- Tamagne Beyene – Community and Civic Services Award
The conference can be seen in its entirety on the Facebook page linked here.