Framework for Engaging Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM)

On December 25, 2023, Jimma University hosted a half-day workshop titled “Launching of Framework for Engagement of Higher Education in Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM). Supported by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and funded by FCDO (UKaid) and USAID, the workshop aimed to institutionalize the Framework for engagement of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Public Health Emergency Management. It also sought to establish a network of universities and regional health bureaus in Southwest Ethiopia for joint emergency preparedness.

The event featured speeches by Dr. Jemal Abafita, President of Jimma University and Prof. Netsanet Workneh, Vice President for Research and Community Service, emphasizing the vital role of HEIs in addressing public health emergencies. Dr. Solomon Benor, CEO of Research and Community Services Affairs at the Ministry of Education, delivered a keynote address, and Dr. Ayana Yeneabat, PHE Lead at Oxford Policy (BRE-OPM), discussed the involvement of HEIs in Public Health Emergency Management. Presentations on the Framework for HEI Engagement in PHEM and Ethiopian universities’ response to COVID-19 were made by Dr. Ayana Yeneabat and Prof. Esayas Kebede, respectively. Productive discussions took place, and MOU signing ceremonies between universities and regional bureaus were facilitated by Dr. Fikadu Balcha, Chief Academic and Research Director at Jimma University Institute of Health. Jimma University was selected to lead the network.

Dr. Tadese Habtamu, Vice President for Academic Affairs, expressed confidence that the framework would guide HEIs in actively engaging in public health emergency management, benefiting communities. The workshop had 50 participants from various universities and health bureaus in Southwest Ethiopia.

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