Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim from the University of Bergen has received 3 million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a three year project that aims to strengthen local capacity on health priorities in Ethiopia.
“The ministry of Health in Addis Ababa needs to strengthen their competency in undertaking economic evaluations and needs advice on how to establish health priorities,” Norheim explains.
Norheim and his research group, Global Health Priories, have been active for many years in the project Disease Control Priorities (DCP) which gives advice on health priorities to, amongst others, the World Health Organization (WHO), in addition to other important global actors.
In addition to giving advice to policy makers and politicians in Ethiopia, the programme graduates will head back to the Health Ministry in Addis Ababa where they have signed a contract with the Health Department in Addis Ababa to work in a new Department dealing with finance and economic evaluation. They are recruited to the Ministry in collaboration with the Health Minister in Ethiopia.
“There is a great need for health priorities in the curriculum at the medical faculties in Ethiopia. In the long run, we want to build a permanent education programme in the country. We have, for instance, established a Centre for Ethics and Priority at Addis Ababa University. Our students will partly have their working place there,” says Norheim.
Norheim says that the cause of their success in Ethiopia is in large part due to University of Bergen´s Centre of International Health (CIH), which has an over 30 year history of local capacity building in Ethiopia.
“Long relationships create trust between the policymakers and us. This means we have good access to important politicians and policy makers in Ehtiopia,” says Ole Frithjof Norheim.