Dr. Amir Aman Hagos, Yale GHLI alumnus, leading Ethiopia’s health care agenda

Dr. Amir Aman Hagos, Ethiopia’s newest minister of health, is one of the youngest heath care influencers on the African continent. Since his appointment in April, Hagos has focused tirelessly on establishing a culture of transparency, performance management, and accountability across the Ministry of Health. He is often described as a young leader determined to set the country’s health sector on the right track.

Hagos is an alumnus of the Yale Global Health Leadership Initiative’s (GHLI) Senior Leadership Program (SLP), from which he received a certificate along with 21 other health officials in Ethiopia under Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu. At the time of his participation in the program, he was the state minister of health.

“We are so pleased to see how one our SLP program graduates has gone on to raise the bar on performance management and accountability for health in Ethiopia,” said Erika Linnander, director of the GHLI. “We are proud to support his vision through the Primary Healthcare Transformation Initiative (PTI) and his efforts to ‘rock the boat’ in a good way for Ethiopia’s overall wellbeing.”

Yale’s PTI program based in Ethiopia is designed to build a culture of performance management and accountability and is directly aligned with Hagos’ vision for the health sector. Linnander says that Hagos has already started working with PTI to develop several approaches to management and leadership in the country, including development of a national accountability framework and supporting tools, and creation of an executive leadership program for rising federal ministry of health officials.

Hagos is acclaimed for championing and inspiring a new generation of health professionals through public service and volunteerism. His leadership in increasing the quality and expanse of medical services is considered a model for public service in Ethiopia and internationally. His work has led to the recruitment, training, and deployment of an additional 9,000 health extension workers through Ethiopia’s Health Extension Program, an internationally hailed health-service delivery platform.

Prior to this appointment Hagos was the state minister for health following the appointment of Dr. Tedros Adhanomi as the director of World Health Organization, and served as medical director of Limu Genet Hospital.

In a Facebook post, Hagos said, “I am humbled by my appointment to serve and lead our health sector; it is a call to duty to ensure the ‘health’ of our people — indeed, as the adage aptly states — health is wealth, because a healthy society is a productive society. That is why we view our mission to provide universal health care — that is quality, accessible, affordable and equitable — is fundamentally a human right and a non-negotiable moral imperative.”

Hagos attended the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, where he earned a Master of Public Health.

The SLP was a collaborative effort by GHLI and Management Sciences for Health to improve leadership and governance in low- and middle-income countries. As part of the USAID Leadership, Management, and Governance Project, the SLP equips senior decision-makers with the skills and tools to address critical health problems with evidence-based strategies, effective management, and transparent governance.