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Table 1 Subnational administrative bodies within the Ethiopia system, regional to local, in the Ethiopian health system

From: Subnational health management and the advancement of health equity: a case study of Ethiopia

Administrative Level Name of health administrative unit Key characteristics and administrative responsibilities
Region Regional Health Bureau • Ethiopia has 11 Regional Health Bureaus.
• Regional Health Bureaus coordinate and execute all activities in the health sector within the respective region.
• Staff at Regional Health Bureaus translate and adapt national guidelines for regional contexts.
• Funding is received from the National Ministry of Health (allocated based on population size of the region) and mostly earmarked for specific programs.
Zone Zonal Health Department • Ethiopia has approximately 86 zones.
• Zonal Health Departments convey guidelines and directives from the region to the woredas.
• They provide technical and administrative support to woredas, and monitor their financial performance.
District (Woreda) Woreda Health Office • The total number of urban and rural woredas in Ethiopia is more than 800, each with a catchment population of around 100,000.
• Woreda-based health sector planning was introduced in HSTP-III (2005/06–2009/10).
• Woreda Health Offices (together with PHCU staff) manage health care delivery issues, and perform monitoring and evaluation of health activities in the woreda.
Local: Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) PHCU • A PHCU typically comprises 5 health posts and a health centre. Each PHCU serves a catchment population of about 25,000.
• PHCUs employ directors and coordinators who function in management capacities. Management staff at the PHCU have a direct role in overseeing the delivery of care.