Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue #18 | 9 Oct. – 1 Nov. 2020
• Field reports indicate that COVID-19 surveillance, testing and treatment have been suspended or significantly reduced in various locations due to lack or dwindling financial and in-kind resources.
• Results from the ComBAT campaign revealed that people between the ages of 15 and 34 are the most affected age group by COVID-19 infection, and people over 60 years show the highest risk of death.
COVID-19 – Ethiopia updates
Dwindling resources impacting COVID-19 surveillance, testing and treatment Field reports indicate that COVID-19 surveillance, testing and treatment have been suspended or significantly reduced in various locations due to lack of or due to dwindling resources (testing kits). Several quarantine and isolation facilities have closed, while others are operating at sub-standard capacity without adequate personal protective equipment, as well as WaSH facility and food service. Home isolation of positive cases has proportionally increased as a result, but without proper follow-up and surveillance activity provided. This increases the risk of wide-spread COVID-19 community transmission.
As of 1 November, Ethiopia counts 96,583 cases nationwide. Meanwhile, the total recovery number increased to 53,452, while the death toll increased to 1,478. At least 336 patients are currently receiving intensive care. Overall, Ethiopia conducted 1.48 million sample tests so far.
Low-level adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures amongst the population risks further community transmission
Results from the ComBAT campaign that was conducted nationwide between 7 August and 6 September revealed that people between the ages of 15 and 34 are the most affected age group by COVID-19, with the majority of the positive cases (34 per cent) between 25-34 years.
Meanwhile, most deaths occurred amongst patients of 60 and above years of age. Looking at the sex breakdown, 62 per cent of the cases are male, while 38 per cent are female.
While the assumption before the campaign was that the cases were concentrated in urban areas, the campaign revealed that almost all woredas in the country are affected, albeit at different rates.
There is still a deplorably low level of adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures amongst the overall population, which further decreased following the expiration of the Government State of Emergency. This is despite a recent Government regulation that states that people not wearing mask or not maintaining physical distancing risk up to two years in prison.
The Risk Communication and Community Engagement pillar within the Government Emergency Operation Center (EOC) is finalizing a six-months plan to address these gaps, with the intention to ensure the ownership of the response by all stakeholders and putting a feedback mechanism in place for immediate action.
Increasing WaSH stations, supporting mask wearing advocacies as well as financial and technical support for the production and dissemination of information and behavior change communication materials are some of the areas requiring partners’ support.
Background: The ComBAT campaign was a nationwide community mobilization and testing and prevention campaign initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to curb the spread of the pandemic through active public participation. In addition to undertaking wide range COVID19 testing, the mobilization was expected to serve as a national platform to create public awareness on protective measures, contributing to stopping the spread of the pandemic.
Launched with the ambitious target to reach 17 million households, the one-month campaign eventually reached 7.9 million households (41.6 million people). In addition, risk communication and community engagement coordination platforms were established or revitalized across 1,051 woredas and 24,601 stakeholders reached with training/orientation