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REPORT: Understanding health-seeking behavior in a time of a pandemic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Avatar: Bruck Negash
Bruck Negash, Eyosyas KebedeJanuary 29, 2021
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REPORT: Understanding health-seeking behavior in a time of a pandemic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Since the onset of the pandemic in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, there is a general consensus that the impact of the coronavirus transcends its already concerning human cost. There are numerous impacts the pandemic has had and is expected to have in the future globally, as well as in specific countries. This also holds true in the context of Ethiopia as the pandemic has had visible (direct) and consequential (indirect) impacts on a wide array of issues in the political, socio-economic, and cultural arena. The following report is the first of many documents exploring the impacts of the pandemic in Ethiopia since the virus was first confirmed on 14 March 2020.

As of 27 January 2021, Ethiopia has conducted 1,936,330 tests (a little over 1% of the estimated population) confirming 135,035 cases of which 121,594 have successfully recovered from the virus with 2,083 Ethiopians succumbing to the virus. Despite the introduction of a State of Emergency between March and September 2020, there are currently no legal restrictions apart from the Regulation regarding covid19 put in place by the Ministry of Health. 

One of the notable impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Ethiopia, as well as other jurisdictions in different continents is the impact it has had on both the ability of countries to provide non-pandemic health care and the trend of utilizing such health care. A number of economic factors such as the need to reallocate resources and manpower to deal with the needs of addressing the epidemic to the tendency to not utilize health care services due to a general fear of contracting the virus, several factors have affected health care utilization in Ethiopia.

This study found that the presence of health care utilization among respondents was 57.2% which is consequently similar to other studies with similar study designs. A study done in northern Ethiopia in 2015 also found that health service utilization among community members was 41.8% while another study done in South West Ethiopia found that Health service utilization found a prevalence of 58.4%. A study done in the Amhara region identified 38.7% of its respondents as health care users, while another study in Jimma revealed this figure was 45.6%. 

However, it is important to note that most of the studies were conducted in rural communities as opposed to the demography of Addis Ababa. In addition to this, the definition of health care utilization in each study also contributes to the similarities or otherwise of the outcomes of the studies. The report also has other important findings that can be inputs for policy and decision-makers as well as other important stakeholders in the country. The full report can be found by clicking the link below.

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A PIECE BYBruck Negash

Bruck Negash is a human rights researcher currently working at Addis Zeybe as a Research Editor.

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A PIECE BYEyosyas Kebede

Eyosyas is a Medical Doctor and Researcher with expertise in storytelling, health education and communication.