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Nation calls on retired health personnel, medical students for COVID-19 battle

Anticipating a surge in patients with COVID-19, the Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has called on retired medical staffs, in-training medical professionals, unemployed medical school graduates and other volunteers, to join the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the MoH, the health professionals, who respond to the national call, will be assigned to various roles, based on their academic background and services in different units including laboratory surveillance, point of entry screening, risk communication and community engagement, and case management isolation,

The registration of health professionals is officially underway via the official website of the ministry which started on April 01, 2020.

Before the virus overwhelms the country, the government of Ethiopia has already embarked on various preventative measures to combat the virus, and has setup, in a recently inaugurated mental health facility, Eka Kotebe General Hospital, an isolation and treatment center for COVID-19 cases. Other 134 quarantine and isolation centers have also recently been identified and arranged.

The hospital has installed around 172 health professionals, 22 medical doctors and 150 nurses to be in the fight against the virus. 

The government has been imploring the public to wash hands, avoid handshakes, and apply social distancing, as preventative measures. However, poverty, negligence, poor communication, communal lifestyle of Ethiopians, poor sanitation and water access, pose significant challenges in a nation of 105 million plus people.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise rapidly across the globe, critical shortage of healthcare workers and personal protective equipment’s (PPE) have become a crucial part in the global fight against the virus.

Even where well-established healthcare systems have found it hard to cope with the deluge of patients and healthcare workers falling ill, and for Ethiopia, with one of the world’s lowest doctor to patient ratio, shortage of health professionals and PPE’s would be alarming.

In Ethiopia, by Friday mid-day, there are 35 COVID-19 patients and two of the patients are in critical condition receiving intensive care, according to MoH.

Meanwhile, in a message posted days ago in his official Facebook page Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) warned about the increasing possibility of more COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia.

More than a million people have been infected with COVID-19 worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 50,000 while more than 208,000 patients have recovered.

Contributed by Solomon Yimer