Creating and sustaining successful partnership

Waliin Fayyinaa is an Afaan Oromo phrase loosely translated as “Healthier together “.

Sentayehu D. Bedane, (MD, MPH Country wide Services Manager DeKalb County, Board of Health Georgia, USA Former IOHPA Board Chairman, Currently IOHPA Board member)

It is a phrase coined by the founders of the International Oromo Health Professionals Association (IOHPA) as an organizational motto to signify its strategic direction.

IOHPA is a non –Proft humanitarian organization established in the United States with the mission to address the healthcare needs of the people of Oromia and the Oromo diaspora through needs assessment, identifcation of areas of healthcare improvement, and thereby contribute towards the promotion of quality health care including preventive care, transfer of knowledge, skill, and appropriate technology. As such, IOHPA believes that it can only reach its strategic goals through working with trusted and supportive strategic partners to have a healing touch of the lives of people.

As an organization established in diaspora, IOHPA recognized right from its inception that fulfilling its mission statement is impossible without having a reliable, trusted, and supportive partner in Oromia with a parallel ambition and mission in promoting the health of the people of Oromia. It is within this hope and aspiration that IOHPA welcomed the partnership with a flourishing young organization in Oromia named the Oromia Physicians Association (OPA). IOHPA and OPA share the vision of improving healthcare for the people of Oromia. Therefore, the coming together of these two organizations would be unsurprisingly rewarding for both parties and the people of Oromia who are the ultimate benefciary. Achieving their goals would be more realistic as partners than as would be as individual organization. IOHPA and OPA have achieved some remarkable goals in their short existence as partners.

The joint response of IOHPA and OPA to the COVID -19 pandemic in Oromia can be cited as a good example to illustrate the success of the partnership between these two-sisterly organizations in collaboration with other stakeholders. As a diaspora-based organization, IOHPA was successful in raising funds from the Oromo diaspora communities in support of the COVID 19 mitigation efforts in Oromia. We are indebted to OPA members who joined us for community education and status updates on many platforms to provide reality on the ground with dedication and professionalism.

The funds were to be used for educational and prevention awareness creation campaigns and to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in Oromia. When IOHPA needed a reliable local implementing agency to deliver the much needed informational and preventive education and the distribution of the much-needed PPE, OPA responded. Because of this successful partnership and collaboration, OPA traveled throughout Oromia, including some hard to access rural locations to educate about COVID-19 prevention. Particularly, contributing precious PPE and standing with the Wollo Oromos who have been neglected for a long time at this diffcult and historic time was momentous.

Furthermore, knowledge, skill, and technology transfer to enhance the home-based skills and capacity was one of the visions of IOHPA. In this regard, IOHPA partnered with OPA and the Oromia Regional Health Bureau where IOHPA members could successfully provide Training of the Trainer (TOT) on10

  • COVID-19 preparedness and response,
  • psychosocial support and mental health for COVID -19 patients,
  • Mild COVID-19 general supportive care,
  • Care and symptomatic treatment and monitoring,
  • Severe COVID-19: Oxygen therapy and monitoring,
  • Critical COVID-19: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS),
  • PPE: Types and their use, including demonstration of how to don and doff standard PPE

These training opportunities were p sory board meeting facilitated by OPA. As demonstrated successfully by IOHPA and OPA, partnership is bringing together the expertise and resources with the goal of enhancing the effciency and quality of service provision. The healthcare disparities and challenges in Oromia seem insurmountable when we face it alone. By working together, we will be able to make signifcant strides towards bridging the gap in healthcare needs of our people in Oromia and beyond. IOHPA is infnitely grateful for the partnership with OPA and together the future is brighter and healthier for Oromia.

That is the motto of IOHPA – Waliin Fayyina. Healthier Together.

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