The Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF), in collaboration with the South Ethiopia Regional Health Bureau and the South Omo Zone Health Department, hosted an advocacy conference on March 18-19, 2024. The primary objective of the conference was to enhance the effectiveness of maternal and child health initiatives in Bena Tsemay and Hamer Woredas, as well as the Turmi city administration, through mobilizing public support. The conference, held under the theme “Strengthened Health Systems for Accelerated Maternal and Child Health Equity,” took place in the towns of Dimeka and Key Afer. The conference brought together a total of 270 participants, including government officials at different levels, tribal leaders, ethnic chiefs, health professionals, and various stakeholders.

During the advocacy forum, the chief administrators of Hamer and Bena Tsemay Woredas delivered welcome messages and highlighted the positive advancements in maternal and child health services within their respective woredas. They specifically mentioned the progress made as a result of the advocacy conference held two years prior, in 2021/22.

Mr. Maekel Maliko, the Chief Administrator of South Omo Zone, expressed his appreciation for the HRF dedication to supporting the implementation of health policies in the project areas during his opening remarks at the forum. He emphasized the foundation’s commitment to disease prevention and ensuring the health and welfare of mothers and children. Mr. Maliko specifically highlighted the HRF’s contributions, including training healthcare professionals at the grassroots level, donating ambulances to health centers, supplying medical resources, and maintaining health facilities.  Mr. Maekel further stated that the zonal administration is committed to closely collaborating with the HRF to realize their shared goal of making maternal and child health services accessible to the grassroots level.

During her keynote address, H.E. Mrs.Roman Tesfaye, the former First Lady of Ethiopia and CEO of the HRF, reflected on the significance of the previous advocacy conference held in the zone two years prior. She highlighted that the conference was groundbreaking, as it brought together stakeholders from various levels, from the central authorities to the local community, all of whom play a crucial role in health service development. Her Excellency emphasized the remarkable progress made in terms of community engagement in the health sector and the subsequent growth in service utilization.

Additionally, Her Excellency conveyed appreciation to the parties who contributed to the successful transformation and underscored the importance of reducing the performance disparity between health center clusters and programs. Furthermore, she stressed the significance of sharing positive experiences that foster incremental changes, supporting those with lower performance levels and enhancing their overall effectiveness.

During her closing statement, Mrs. Roman highlighted that the genuine assessment of accomplishment for the advocacy conference resides in the results that follow as a consequence. With a tone that conveyed care and support, she passionately appealed to all individuals involved, urging them to fulfill their specific responsibilities and actively contribute to the realization of the conference’s objectives.

Hailemariam & Roman Foundation

March 2024, South Omo Zone


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