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CDC partners EPHI to build capacity
Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and CDC lab experts conducting a COVID-19 lab test at the EPHI Reference lab

CDC partners EPHI to build capacity

CDC Ethiopia is helping Ethiopia build its capacity to support laboratories and health facilities as it faces the challenges of the COVID–19 pandemic. This comes as the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and CDC lab experts are conducting a COVID-19 lab tests locally, surpassing the need to send samples to South Africa for basic testing.

This comes as more laboratories are being built in the capital and in regional states to allow them conduct routine COVID-19 testing.

“Our partnership and engagement with CDC is historic. CDC has been there since the establishment of this facility and together we have achieved many milestones throughout the years,” said Adamu Tayachew, Respiratory Viral Diseases Surveillance Response Case Team Lead at EPHI. “CDC’s support has been instrumental in assisting the lab in the investigation of outbreaks of various viral pathogens such as influenza, yellow fever, chikungunya, and dengue, some of which had never been detected in Ethiopia before.”

CDC so far has invested about USD 64 million in Ethiopia’s health facilities to help the country offer adequate diagnostic services, more specifically as Ethiopia faces unexpected challenges to its health care system in light of the new pandemic that has seen many systems buckle under its weight.

The new partnership is also to offer two senior lab technicians to provide direct hands-on technical assistance at the national COVID 19 testing laboratory, according to a statement sent to The Reporter by the American Embassy in Addis Ababa.

“Working eighteen hours a day has become the new normal for us since the outbreak, but I am humbled to see these folks working with us side by side during off-hours. They are bringing us a global context which helps us build our capacity in verification of new testing materials, specimen collection, resource management, workflow planning, and workforce management,” Adamu said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopia’s Health Ministry has increased its capacity to taste more than 4000 specimens a day.

 “The long-standing successful partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of Ethiopia has helped strengthen public health systems to combat both existing and emerging 21st century health threats like the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said CDC Ethiopia Country Director, Christine Ross (MD).

“While we work diligently to address the remaining gaps, it’s encouraging to see the Government of Ethiopia capitalizing on these CDC investments, particularly in public health laboratories across the regions, to intensify its public health response to the COVID-19 threat,” she added.