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Ethiopia Marks World Health Day 2017

Performance by the youth drama group Performance by the youth drama group

Addis Ababa, 19 April 2017 – Ethiopia joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Health Day, on 7 April 2017, at Yeka Kotebe General Hospital, a newly inaugurated hospital with mental health services. This year’s commemoration was under the theme “Depression; Let’s Talk” with a special focus on three groups of the population, namely adolescents and youth, women and elderly. The celebration was attended by more than 110 participants; including High Officials from the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO officials, Members of Parliament, celebrities, psychiatrists, CEOs of various hospitals, health workers, the media, and youth groups.

The commemoration of World Health Day was marked by a series of activities; opening and key note addresses by the WHO Representative to Ethiopia and Representative of Federal Ministry of Health followed by panel discussion.

Depression is a common mental disorder and one of the main causes of disability worldwide. Globally, an estimated 300 million people are affected by depression, and in the African Region, close to 30 million people suffer from this disorder.

In his key note address, WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Kalu Akpaka shared a personal experience revealing that depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all countries. Dr Kalu in his address emphasized the fact that the support mechanism of the entourage of the patient is equally important as the treatment. “As Ethiopia expands its mental health services, I would like to reassure you that we at the World Health Organization will be there to support you, and ensure that appropriate services are availed for mental health illness”, he added. Before concluding his remarks, Dr Kalu further commended the Ethiopian government for its commitment to invest in the mental health.

On behalf of the State Minister of Health, Dr Kebede Worku, Dr Kassu Ketema stated that according to the reports released in the last 10 years10% of the Ethiopian population suffers from depression constituting the highest share of burden from other forms of mental illness, in the country.  He further expressed Ethiopian government’s commitment in strengthening the mental health facilities which will be dealing with depression and other mental health disorders.

Panelists from WHO, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labor and social Affairs and St Amanuel Hospital each discussed the burden of depression at the global and regional context, the government response to make mental health services available and accessible, government commitment and efforts to reach out vulnerable and the role of communities to provide adequate care and support for the people affected by depression. 

The real-life stories, experiences and knowledge shared by speakers and panelists inspired and triggered fruitful discussions.

The panel discussion was then followed by a performance by the youth drama group with messages highlighting the importance of parental, community and school support to help adolescents and youth cope up with depression.

The Commemoration of World Health Day was organized jointly by the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, Amanuel Mental Health Hospital, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of children and women are coordinating the implementation of the event. The media conducted interviews with high dignitaries and banners, brochures and posters were used to convey and disseminate pertinent information on the significance of raising public awareness with regard to depression.

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For more information, please contact:

Dr Abebayehu Assefa
Noncommunicable Diseases Team Leader
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Tel: +251 911 500 324

Wassihun Melaku
Health Promotion Officer
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: +251 919 795 722

Selam Fesseha
Communications Officer
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Tel: +251 9 84796869

Selam Fesseha
Communications Officer
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone: +251 115 534777
Mobile: +251 9 84796869


Below:

01. Performance by the youth drama group

02. WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Kalu Akpaka delivering a keynote address.

03. Dr Kassu Ketema delivering his opening speech

04. Participants at the Commemoration of World Health Day 2017

Ethiopia