Open Letter to World Health Organization (WHO)
Ever since the mysterious coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019, this deadliest disease is spreading rapidly and has now categorized as pandemic disease. World Health Organisation has been giving information, prevention guidelines and updates on the status of the outbreak.
Coronavirus pandemic has attracted the attentions of the world and frustration intensified after significant number of world leaders, football players, managers and celebrities were reported to be tested positive.
Ethiopia has reported its first confirmed coronavirus case after the Japanese national was tested positive this morning. It’s a worrisome report for a country with limited medical provision capacity, overpopulation, low access to information due to low internet penetration and health sector unprepardness.
At this critical time when all the talk and the walk has become about coronavirus, the people of Western and Southern Oromia didn’t even know the existence of this deadliest disease since all means of communication were blocked before two months. They were completely isolated from information and any updates on the status of the outbreak will never reach them. Internet and phone call service was totally blocked and half part of Oromia were put into the darkest situation.
Politicians, activists, human rights defenders and humanitarian workers have been calling the Ethiopian government to restore internet and phone call service in the mentioned areas, but the government continued to turn blind ear on the their repeated calls.
Blocking information on the status of coronavirus and updates on its prevention guidelines will definitely be considered as an act of genocide. The Ethiopian government will be accountable if people of the western and Southern Oromia suffer from the virus without their knowledge.
I urge the World Health Organization Ethiopia to put the necessary pressure you can on the prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali and his government to restore internet and phone call service so the people living in the mentioned area will access information on the status of coronavirus, follow all the necessary prevention guidelines.
Lammi Begna Qajela
13 March 2020
— Kichuu (@kichuu24) March 13, 2020