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Does less number of covid-19 cases mean the spread of the pandemic is slowed down in Ethiopia?

Avatar: Nigist Berta
Nigist Berta July 6, 2021
City: Addis AbabaHealth
Does less number of covid-19 cases mean the spread of the pandemic is slowed down in Ethiopia?

Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) warning of the third wave of Covid 19 in Africa, precautions seem neglected by the public across Ethiopia. 

However, last week Eka Kotebe hospital, one of the main covid-19 treatment centers in Ethiopia, has announced that the number of covid patients admitted to the treatment center has significantly declined. According to the officers at the center, half of the beds and the facilities including the ICU  at the center are idle. Similarly, the number of covid-19 positive cases reported in the country has been declining for the past few weeks. Last week Ethiopia marked a day where no one died due to the pandemic. It was big news for many as over 4,000 people have died due to the virus over the past year.  Representatives from Yeka Kotebe relate the vaccinations and herd immunity that slowed down the spread level, as a reason for the decline of patients going to the hospital. 

This was reported amidst the World Health Organization (WHO) warning on July 24 2021 that the African continent is facing a surging third wave of COVID-19 cases, driven by new and faster variants of the coronavirus that causes it.

During a virtual briefing, WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said “new cases have increased by an average of 25%in Africa for six straight weeks, to almost 202,000 in the week ending on June 27.” She said adding that deaths rose by 15across 38 African countries to nearly 3,000 in the same period.

As Moeti said this wave is being driven by more contagious COVID-19 variants, “raising the threat to Africa to a whole new level.” She said among the 14 African countries now in resurgence, 12 have detected variants of concern, including nine with the Delta variant, originally identified in India, and this variant is said to move to East Africa according to some studies.  

It is also noted that the Alpha and Beta variants have been reported in 32 and 27 countries of Africa, respectively, meanwhile.

Accordingly, Dr. Mikiyas Abera, General practitioners head at Eka Kotebe hospital whom Addis Zeybe asked about their announcement of the drop-down explained as “Eka Kotebe Hospital publishes data only based on patient informatics at the hospital, which shows a drop of patient decrease in the center only.”

This doesn't signal the national covid status, as treatment centers are expanding in the city people might get treatments at private hospitals too, according to Mikiyas.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for the number of patients. On the other hand state minister of Ethiopian Health Minister, Alemtsehay Paulos told Addis Zeybe "the neglect seen in the community is challenging the health sector let alone to say covid_19 is decreasing, people are holding back the cautions they should take assuming that the disease is getting under control."

She also said that it is seen people assuming vaccines offer the best path toward ending devastating surges but that doesn’t assure a dropdown in covid-19 cases so one should still take serious prevention methods.

Ethiopia shares a major proportion of the global burden of infectious diseases. At first, it was known that the Ethiopian government had exerted tremendous efforts to curb the spread of the virus but lately reflectance is observed nationwide, from both the government and the community side.

"Being careless means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy," warned Dr. Tesfahun Werku, the head of the Hallelujah Hospital fight against the COVID department. 

"Our hospitals are overwhelmed, the morgues are overflowing, many influential people have been infected with the virus, and many have died." he added, “so as such time no confusion should be made because it will cost us a lot.”

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A PIECE BYNigist Berta

Nigist is working as a reporter and content creator at Addis Zeybe to explore her passion for storytelling. She has Bsc. in medical laboratories & BA in media and Communications.