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Minister Lia Tadesse

Minister Lia Tadesse is an obstetrician and gynecologist with extensive leadership experience in healthcare, academia, hospital management, and grant-funded programs. Prior to her appointment as Minister of Health of Ethiopia on 12 March 2020—just one day before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ethiopia—Minister Tadesse served as State Minister of Health from 2018 to 2020, leading Ethiopia’s national health programs under the Health Sector Transformation Strategy. From 2015 to 2018, she served as Program Director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training at the University of Michigan, and from 2014 to 2015, she was Project Director of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Maternal and Child Survival Program in Ethiopia. We spoke with Minister Tadesse for our “Spotlight a COVID-19 Heroine” series about what it was like stepping into her role as Minister of Health at such a uniquely challenging moment, how she has led her country’s COVID-19 response, and how her commitment to improving women’s health has helped shape her own career and leadership journey.

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