Meeting held with the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia

A meeting to discuss the 5S foundation project in Ethiopia was held with officials of the Ministry of Health on Dec 28, 2020, at the Office of the Ministry of Health. The meeting was attended by Mr. Garedew Yilma, project coordinator of the 5S foundation and Dr. Kibur Engdawork, a postdoctoral research fellow at 5S foundation, and from the Ministry of Health, Mr Taye Letta, Acting Director of Disease Prevention and Control Directorate and Mr. Fikire Siefe, team leader of the National NTD Program. The main objective of the meeting was to brief the aforementioned individuals and their respective units about the 5S foundation project, solicit cooperation, and lay down the groundwork for future collaboration.

Mister Taye Letta, Acting Director of Disease Prevention Directorate & National TBL Programme Coordinator explained the directorate's main activities. He mentioned that the directorate has six teams working on focusing on communicable and non-communicable diseases. One of the six teams is NTD. He emphasized the importance of having a project like the 5S in fighting the stigma associated with NTDs. He also indicated that there are high stigmatized diseases like Podo and Leprosy in the Amhara region and Wolaita Zone. He thanked the team for taking the initiative to contact the Ministry of Health and brief them about the project and he further requested the team if the 5S foundation project could focus on leprosy in addition to Podo and Scabies as there is high stigma and discrimination associated with the diseases. He assured the team that the Ministry of Health and his directorate are very happy to work with the 5S foundation project and will provide every required assistance and cooperation required.

On the other hand, Mister Fikre Seife, National NTD Program Team Leader, mentioned the importance of having partners and collaborations from academic and research institutions like the 5S project to make the NTDs activities more effective and practical in Ethiopia. He furthermore highlighted that most of the research activities in Ethiopia related to NTDs are undertaken by international organizations and foreign researchers and indicated the importance of having partners and research projects run by Ethiopian researchers. He additionally said that the 5S project could help to rehabilitate and integrate stigmatized patients as much emphasis has been given to clinical treatment. Finally, he thanked the 5S foundation team and extended his willingness to support the activities of the research project and also link the project with other government and non-government partners working on NTDs.


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