Health officials and physicians were stunned when Mr. Zenawi said “We don’t need doctors in Ethiopia”
By AndyMedia | March 8, 2007
ADDIS ABABA – Health officials and physicians were stunned when Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told a recent health care conference “We don’t need doctors in Ethiopia….Let the doctors leave to wherever they want.” Witnesses pointed out that Ethiopia has some of the world’s most desperate health-care problems and were shocked by the Prime Minister’s comments.
During a recent health-care conference in Ethiopia, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi shocked the attending health-care officials and physicians when he stated “We don’t need doctors in Ethiopia.” His comments were in response to questions regarding the ‘doctor drain’ in Ethiopia whereby, according to some reports, as many as 80% of Ethiopian-trained doctors leave for better-paid employement elsewhere.
The World Health Organization recently ranked Ethiopia 180th out of 190 listed nations in a global health report (WHO PRESS RELEASE WHO/44, June 2000) — astonishingly, Ethiopia ranked below nations such as Rwanda, North Korea, and Somalia in overall quality and provision of healthcare.
There is roughly one doctor for 30,000 Ethiopians.
Health officials were shocked by the Prime Minister’s statement, some suggesting his words suggested a lack of concern for the people’s health in the overall political context of Zenawi’s stifling of all opposition and criticism. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several Ethiopian journalists suggested to this western journalist that the Prime Minister’s comments were symptomatic of mental instability and that he is unfit to rule this nation of 77 million people.
The Prime Minister, in his remarks, implied he would make no additional efforts to lure back the Ethiopian-trained doctors. “They should get no special treatment”, he said.