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The Carter Center Celebrates Transfer of Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative to Ethiopia Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Education

Contact: Paige Rohe (Atlanta),, +1-404-420-5129

ATLANTA…After 13 years training more than 26,000 public health workers to help fill the gap in rural health services for 75 million Ethiopians, The Carter Center- assisted Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative (EPHTI) officially has been transferred to Ethiopia's  Federal Ministries of Health and Education. Established in 1997 at the invitation of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, EPHTI worked in partnership with seven Ethiopian universities and the Ethiopian government to improve the public health education system.

"This project has demonstrated that despite limited resources, remarkable progress can be made to improve health in Ethiopia, harnessing Ethiopian talent," said former U.S. President and Carter Center Founder Jimmy Carter. "The Carter Center is proud to continue to support Ethiopia through our disease prevention programs that fight afflictions such as trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, and Guinea worm disease, among others."

Leveraging Ethiopian Expertise to Create Rural Health Services

Ethiopia has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world and one of the highest infant mortality rates. This critical situation is compounded by the frequent migration of Ethiopia's skilled health professionals to other countries, leaving a dangerous void of service providers.

International experts worked side by side with Ethiopian teaching staff at the University of Gondar, Defense College of Health Sciences, Haramaya University, Hawassa University, Mekelle University, Jimma University, and Addis Ababa University.

More than 2,500 faculty were trained through 565 workshops and seminars. In addition, 228 learning materials were developed that reflect Ethiopian health care needs and experiences. The learning materials address life-threatening diseases and longer-term health promotion, and cover topics such as: HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, nutrition, maternal and child health, mental health, reproductive health, and water and sanitation.

EPHTI also enhanced classroom and learning environments for health sciences students. More than 7,000 textbooks were provided as well as subscriptions to professional journals, computers, anatomical models, and supplies such as stethoscopes and gloves.

A second component of the program trained health center staff and community health workers, including traditional birth attendants and community health agents. Today, EPHTI-trained health service professionals serve 90 percent of the Ethiopian population in more than 620 rural health centers.

Providing a Road Map for Others to Follow

In 2007, the Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative Replication Conference provided the opportunity for ministries of health, education, and science and technology from 10 African governments to learn how EPHTI's model could help address the severe shortages of health care professionals in their own nations.

Since the conference, several countries have expressed interest in establishing similar programs. Currently, lessons learned from EPHTI are being used by The Carter Center and the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to create a national mental health system for the post-conflict nation.

In addition, after a 13-year partnership with The Carter Center to develop the EPHTI health learning materials, the Ethiopia ministries of health and education have made the full collection available for other countries to learn from the Ethiopian experience. These materials are online for free download Through a partnership with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French-language translations of eight, specific lecture notes and modules are available to help facilitate adoption of the training model in African Francophone countries.

Finally, in 2010, EPHTI Director Dr. Joyce Murray and Assistant Director Shelly Terrazas contributed to the new book, "Educating Health Professionals in Low-Resource Countries: A Global Approach," (Springer Publishing Company, 2010), which provides health educators in resource-limited settings with a formal pedagogy targeted to increase the quality and numbers of health workers.

Editor's Note:

Learn more about EPHTI and download free health learning materials >>

Learn more about the Carter Center's work in Ethiopia >>

Learn more about the Carter Center's other health programs >>


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. 

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