Dr. Owen Kaluwa Assumes Office as World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Ethiopia

The recently designated World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Owen Laws Kaluwa, formally presented his credentials to H.E. Melaku Bedada, Director General of Protocol Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, marking the official commencement of his tenure in Ethiopia.

Offering a warm reception to Dr. Kaluwa, the Director General, H.E. Melaku Bedada, expressed deep appreciation for WHO’s strong commitment in deploying expertise and resources towards attainment of universal health coverage in Ethiopia.

The Director General underscored WHO’s substantial contributions to Ethiopia’s healthcare system, emphasizing the anticipation surrounding Dr. Kaluwa’s tenure. He expressed confidence in Dr. Kaluwa’s ability to further strengthen the strong partnership between WHO and Ethiopia across various health endeavors, including proactive responses to emergencies and addressing humanitarian crises.

The two parties discussed the enduring alliance between Ethiopia and the World Health Organization and their commitment to safeguarding public health and advancing the noble aspiration of ‘Health for All.’

Similarly, Dr. Kaluwa has paid a courtesy visit to the Ethiopian Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Mekdes Daba, as a gesture of goodwill, collaboration, and dedication between the Ministry of Health Ethiopia and the UN’s Health Agency in advancing public healthcare endeavors in Ethiopia.

Dr. Mekdes Daba expressed her ministry’s resolute dedication to further strengthening the partnership, collaboration, and cooperation with WHO and serving the community collectively. She also expressed readiness to work closely with the new Representative of the country office.

The Minister emphasized the World Health Organization’s significant role in capacity building for health workers, outbreak and emergency response, and various other health interventions.

She stressed the need for enduring support from WHO in emergency preparedness and response activities across the country, particularly in bolstering the capacity to predict, prepare, and respond to diverse emergencies.

Furthermore, she solicited WHO Ethiopia’s support and collaboration in local pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing and quality assurance, anticipating benefits for other countries in the WHO AFRO region.

Both parties also discussed intensifying collaboration on healthcare worker capacity development and post-conflict restoration of health facilities in conflict-affected areas, emphasizing the need to collaborate with other partners and agencies. 

In agreement with the Minister’s priorities, Dr.Kaluwa highlighted the importance of prioritizing local production of credible and state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals and vaccines in the region, for the benefit of  the entire African region. WHO pledged requisite support in pharmaceutical quality assurance.

He reiterated that public health emergencies constitute a pivotal focus of WHO, pledging to consolidate its role, particularly in prevention and preparedness, to counter such challenges.
Before his appointment as WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Kaluwa served as a WHO Country Representative for South Africa from 2019 to 2024, WHO Country Representative for Ghana from 2015 to 2019, and WHO Country Representative for Eswatini from 2009 to 2015.

Dr Kaluwa specialized in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine from the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He has almost thirty years of work experience in public health, particularly in HIV/AIDS, epidemiological surveillance, strategic planning, program development, and monitoring and evaluation.

Dr. Kaluwa joined the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa in 2002 as a technical officer for HIV program development. Before joining WHO, he worked in his home country of Malawi as the Head of Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of HIV/AIDS Programmes at the Ministry of Health, the National Coordinator of HIV/AIDS Strategic Planning, and the Director of Programmes in the National AIDS Commission. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.


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