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4:23 am - Sunday April 5, 2020

Corona virus Epidemic and the Snail paced Public Health Preparedness in Ethiopia (Abebech Shiferaw)

Corona virus Epidemic and the Snail paced Public Health Preparedness in Ethiopia 

 

Abebech Shiferaw

Corona virus epidemic has caused huge public concern globe wise. The World Health Organization declared that the problem has reached epidemic level. Economic/Trade, political, social connections among nations and people are affected so much. Number of deaths and infected people is increasing at an alarming rate.  Worse yet, So far, no cure is found for this epidemic. Health education and promotion seems the only feasible way to deal with and counter act against the virus.

Health education and /or promotion plays a key role in improving the health literacy of individuals and communities at large. It is a cost effective and prevention focused strategy for overcoming health challenges. It is highly recommended for developing countries with less number of and qualified health professionals as well as poor health facilities.

Countries are doing their level best and engaged in various proactive measures (such as working on developing medicines, cancelation of flights, cancelation of international conferences, establishment of new hospitals, training of health professionals, organizing task force, intensive public health communication  works, etc) to curb actual or possible risks imposed by the virus.

On the other hand, Ethiopia,a country with low poor facilities seems to be less concerned about this global health problem. This could be evidenced by continuation of flights to the world hot spots, less or no health communication works on the virus, no community organization and mobilization efforts. Especially, the continuation of flights to China is mainly intended to advance political and economic benefits at the cost of people’s lives. These and many other gaps in the health sector will undoubtedly invite unbearable consequences both for the government and citizens.

Though late, it is high time for citizens, peoples representatives and professionals to demand the government to revisit its engagements with other countries and locally. We have to press hard and openly say stop gambling with livesof citizens.

Once the good will is obtained, it would be beneficial to establish task force (national to lower level) and be ready for evidence based action.It is very top urgent for Ethiopia to make necessary alternative preparations for corona virus prevention. Among others, intensive Social Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) works on various aspects of the epidemic need to be prioritized given the limited resources we have and urgency of the problem.

 

Filed in: Current Affairs / News