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Seven Ethiopian medical entrepreneurs were awarded grants ranging from USD 100,000 to 200,000 by the Health Enterprise Fund Ethiopia. The awardees came up with new ways to improve and expand healthcare for low income populations especially those found in rural areas.
The program was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department for International Development (DFID). This fund is part of
DFID’s: Harnessing Non-state Actors for Better Health for the Poor (HANSHEP) program, to support private enterprises that have the potential to improve health care by making it easier for people with lower incomes to access quality health services.
The winning ideas range from a 24 hour medical hotline, where anyone can call to get medical advice for a standard fee, to a tele-pathology lab which allows hospitals to send findings from regular medical tests to pathologists in American laboratories, to get a second opinion for patients, and a medical waste management program.
Dr. Addis Tamire, general director at the federal ministry of health said that getting the involvement of the private sector in providing healthcare is one of the MoH’s six pillars of health. These pillars also revolve around building up the human resources of the country’s medical system through the involvement of the private sector.
“According to the latest health survey, infant mortality and under-five mortality, since 2008, have decreased 39pct and 47pct respectively,” said Elise Jensen, USAID Health, AIDS, Population and Nutrition Chief.
This goes in line with the Growth and Transformation (GTP) which said that the under five mortality rate which was 101 out of 1,000 will be decreased to 67 while maternal mortality rate will go down to 267 from 590 out of 100,000 by the end of the plan.
According to Jensen, 16 percent of health expenditures are made on private facilities. This percentage is expected to grow in the coming years as Ethiopia’s economy grows.
The seven entrepreneurs will use the funds they won to implement their business ideas in the next year. They will also get technical assistance and have the chance to collaborate with investors and the wider global economy.