The new World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative to Uganda, Dr Tegegn Yonas Woldemariam, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and the Minister of Health in their respective offices following his arrival in the country.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda welcomed Dr Yonas to Uganda saying, “The health challenges facing Uganda can be addressed.” “With your experience in WHO and coming from Ethiopia that has been able to register progress in health, I believe you will lead WHO to do more in supporting the health sector in Uganda”, he added.
At the Ministry of Health, Dr Yonas was welcomed by the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng together with senior officials who included the State Minister of Health in Charge of General duties, Director General of Health Services, and commissioners. Dr Aceng expressed gratitude for the continuous technical and financial support from WHO and appreciated WHO’s support in containing the recent Marburg outbreak in Eastern Uganda. "WHO was on the ground and mobilized support from within and outside the country, which helped us prevent further spread of Marburg Virus Disease”, she said.
Dr Aceng highlighted the critical need to strengthen health systems in Uganda, the high burden of Tuberculosis, HIV & AIDS, Non-Communicable and Communicable diseases as well as Neglected Tropical Diseases. She, therefore, she called on WHO to continue supporting the ministry in order for Uganda to realize the targets stipulated in the Health Sector Strategic Plan.
In response, Dr Yonas referred to WHO’s mandate which is to support governments to tackle public health challenges in countries. He pledged to work closely with the Ministry of Health to address those challenges. Dr Yonas underscored the WHO Transformation Agenda that seeks to engender a regional health organization that is foresighted, proactive, responsive, results-driven, transparent, accountable, appropriately resourced and equipped to deliver on its mandate.