(L-R)Past District Governor and Rotary Ethiopia Chair Teshome Kebede, Ethiopian Minister of Health Dr Lia Tadesse and CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Mesfin Tasew Bekele sign the agreement as a representative from child heart fund Ethiopia looks on.
Rotary Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines Partner to Airlift Children For Heart Surgeries
100 children will benefit from free treatment for chronic heart diseases in India, courtesy of a tripartite agreement signed by Rotary Ethiopia (RE) with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MOH) last week. 
This comes hot on the heels of Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta's offer to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to have 100 children with chronic heart problems receive corrective treatment in India.  Mehta made this pledge when he met with the country’s president H.E Sahlework Zewde, during his visit to the country last year - accompanied by District Governor Alex Nyaga and Rotary Ethiopia officials.
The agreement will see RE, ET, MOH and Ethiopian Heart Patients Association work together to improve the quality of life of the sick children by ensuring logistical facilitation and full treatment. Commenting at the event, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew expressed his delight in the airline’s pledge to provide 100 air tickets to the sick children and a further 100 tickets to their guardians courtesy of the ET Foundation.
Representatives from Rotary Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia Ministry of Health and Child Heart Fund Ethiopia during the event.
Past District Governor (PDG) Toshome Kebede who represented RE at the event, also welcomed the move as part of Rotary’s focus on Maternal and Child health. He reiterated that RE, which had spent more than 60 million birr (USD 1.15M) on community projects in Ethiopia this year, was committed to continuing to cooperate with like-minded partners in the future.
In agreement was the Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr. Liya Tadesse who remarked that this collaboration would serve to strengthen the work being done to prevent non-communicable diseases in Ethiopia. Speaking at the occasion, she said that more than 7,000 children were waiting for heart surgery in government institutions and Ethiopian Children's Help Center alone, and thanked the partners on behalf of the government and the families of the sick children for this timely initiative.
(L-R) Past District Governor and Rotary Ethiopia Chair Teshome Kebede, Ethiopian Minister of Health Dr Lia Tadesse, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Mesfin Tasew Bekele and a representative from Child Heart fund Ethiopia