ETHIOPIA: CORONAVIRUS CASES HIT 84, BILL GATES DONATES $600,000 TO ADDIS ABABA

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 file as of April 14 has 82 cases (eight new cases) with three deaths and 14 recoveries. The total number of tests stands at 4,557. Active cases stand at 63 representing about 77% of recorded cases.

Meanwhile the Addis Ababa City Administration has announced a 200 million birr commitment from the Gates Foundation. The news was disclosed by Mayor Takele Uma-Banti via Twitter. The city has been the most impacted in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Of the eight new cases, five of them are Ethiopians with the other three being Eritrean, Somali and British nationals. All but one have either travel history abroad, or contacts with previous patients, the Minister disclosed at a daily briefing.

“My heartfelt thanks goes to the Gates Foundation for just making a 200 million birr commitment to our city! You are a genuine partner & this will go a long way in building up our defenses against the spread of #COVID19 & the larger impact of this pandemic on our communities,” he added.

Health Minister Lia Tadesse also announced that health professionals accommodation received a boost after a local real estate giant availed a brand new apartment block for three months to house the workers.

“My profound appreciation to Noah Real Estate for generously handing over it’s brand new apartment for three months as a residence for our Health professionals combating COVID19 (in) Ethiopia,” the Minister tweeted.

BACKGROUND

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 file as of April 13 has 74 cases with three deaths and 14 recoveries.

The country is seeking to boost its ventilator reserves according to Health Minister Lia Tadesse. She disclosed to local media outlets that procurement of 400 ventilators was ongoing. She said Ethiopia had 435 ventilators at last count, many of which were dysfunctional.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, another 122 ventilators were imported. Weeks back a private hospital held training for medics on how to use the life-saving respiratory devices which are currently a hot cake globally given their central role in saving patients with acute conditions of coronavirus.

Minister Lia is also quoted as stressing that healthcare professionals caring for COVID-19 patients will be provided with life insurances.

Prime Minister Abiy also announced via Twitter that local production of face masks was ongoing at an industrial park. According to him, companies in Hawasa Industrial Park were currently producing 10,000 face masks per day with production expected to be scaled up to 50,0000 per day.

Meanwhile, regional testing of the virus got a further boost after a laboratory went operational at the Haramaya University near Harar city, over the weekend. The lab’s coordinator Dr. Nega Assefa said if all inputs are available smoothly, the lab has the capacity to test 384 samples every 2 hours.

Tigray region’s Mekelle University became the first outside of Addis Ababa to have a testing laboratory weeks back. Late last week, Bahir Dar, capital of Amhara region, started testing for COVID-19.

The test started at the region’s Public Health Institute and had a capacity to conduct 100 tests daily. The region said at the time that it was working to expand similar works to 3 cities: Gonder, Dessie and Debre Birhan.

As of April 11, cases in Ethiopia had reached 69 according to Health Minister Lia Tadesse’s updates. The number of new cases were four, three of whom had travel history. 54 patients remain in treatment whiles recoveries have reached 10. three deaths and two repatriations complete the fact sheet.

Meanwhile, the first China-Africa virtual seminar took place on Friday involving exchanges between an Ethiopian team and counterparts from a Chinese university. The session was facilitated by the Jack Ma Foundation.

The foundation posted on Twitter: “Knowledge is power! Yesterday, we hosted our first COVID-19 China-Africa GMCC webinar. The 2nd Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang Univ. joined Ethiopia’s Health Minister, St. Paul’s Hospital and 20+ Ethiopian hospitals online. More webinars to come with Rwanda, Zimbabwe & others!”

Meanwhile Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and First Lady Zenash Tayachew have made donations to the Addis Ababa City Administration. The food supplies donated were to help the city administration to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by supporting the vulnerable.

Credit: Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

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