The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over the newly constructed Kuni Health Center to the Amhara Regional Health Bureau at a special inauguration ceremony. The new health center was constructed through USAID’s Ethiopia Health Infrastructure Program, which is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). As a result, more than 25,000 people in Kuni and surrounding areas will have better access to essential health services, including immunizations for children, safe childbirth delivery, HIV care and treatment services, and more. The United States’ investment in the Kuni Health Center construction was $1.3 million.
Speaking at the event, USAID’s Health System Strengthening Team Leader Eshete Yilma said, “Even with investments in a strong education system and a growing business sector – without a healthy population to educate and employ – everything else falters. This is why USAID has placed such a strong emphasis on supporting Ethiopia’s public health programs, and why this health center is so important for the citizens of Kuni and the surrounding communities.” Through an agreement with the Ministry of Health, USAID constructed the center, while the Government of Ethiopia will provide the electricity connection, staff and equipment to ensure the center can provide quality health services to the community.
Over the past decade, USAID has built 22 health centers in Ethiopia, 10 pharmaceutical storage warehouses, and has renovated an additional 10 existing health facilities under the PEPFAR initiative. In addition, USAID is currently constructing a new National Blood Bank which should be completed and handed over to the Ministry of Health in the coming months.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately $200 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Through USAID, the United States has provided $3.5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.