Tag Archives: Covid-19

Ethiopia, Finland Extend COWASH to Build COVID-19 Preparedness

4 Aug

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The expired third round of the Community-Led Accelerated Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Project (COWASH) has been extended for an additional six months to improve Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency preparedness in five regional states.

The governments of Finland and Ethiopia have contributed 182 million Br for resilience building in Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities, & Peoples’ Region. The project is aimed at supporting the preparedness and response of the beneficiary regional states toward the pandemic. Ethiopia contributed 81.4 million Br, while the remaining will be covered by Finnish government.

The four-year project expired in June, and the fourth version was supposed to follow but was delayed due to the pandemic. The project will coincide with improving the WASH service in selected weredasthrough a community-managed project approach, where the community has power for planning, implementation, operation and maintenance of water supply facilities as well.

The support is primarily focused on advancing the accessibility of safe water and sanitation in areas with no access to clean water. Through this extension, 1,000 community and 400 school and health facility water points are expected to be built along with maintaining 1,000 school and health facility latrines. The project is set to create 1,500 hand washing facilities and involves the participation of 175,000 people in the project areas. It is expected to benefit 600,000 users.

Eight million Birr has been allocated as a response for an emergency procurement in COVID-19 treatment, isolation and quarantine centres and other COVID-19 hot spots in the project areas, which will go toward WASH-related items and services.

The project will focus on introducing intensive hand washing at all levels by building accessible hand washing facilities for homes, institutions and water points. It will also work on launching local soap production and the promotion of sustained behaviour change on hygienic practices. Under this scheme, 1,500 hand washing facilities will be built.

For the execution of the project, the community-led project will involve training 25,000 people over two days.

The people will be trained to educate the local community on how to use the built facilities without physical contact, how to protect themselves from the pandemic and what to do or follow if they show symptoms, according to Melaku Tekola, communications and knowledge management advisor for the project.

Beginning a quarter century ago, the project has been using a community development funding approach and was already implemented in the Amhara Regional State. Then nine years ago COWASH transitioned to a community-led approach where the community is involved in the construction, management and maintenance of the water points in 76 weredas across five regional states.

“The community-led project gives a sense of ownership to the community,” said Melaku, adding that it has helped COWASH achieve a 93pc success rate.

Before switching the approach, various research studies were conducted, according to Arto Suominen, COWASH’s chief technical advisor.

“The research was detailed and well-grounded,” he said. “It has helped us make evidence-based decisions for the project based on the assessments on the impacts and challenges.”

The projects are in areas of political instability, and damage caused to the sites are becoming the primary challenge, according to Arto.

“The station in Welkayet is one example,” he said.

Over the last nine years, after the new approach was implemented, the two countries have contributed 2.7 billion Br. Over half of the funds came from Finland. From the project, 4.2 million people benefited from water supply, while 4.1 million people were beneficiaries of health facilities. A total of 16,961 and 814,448 water and health facilities with latrines, respectively, were built.

While access to pure water is mandatory for survival, it is less accessible to rural areas that are far from getting clean water, according to Abebe Dinku (PhD), civil engineer and expert in water sanitation.

“A project like COWASH is even more important for a COVID-19 vulnerable population,” Abebe said.

The fourth phase of COWASH, which will be launched in January 2021, targets 800,000 people as beneficiaries of upgraded safe water supply. Increasing latrine access to households from 42pc to 62pc is also the target of the fourth phase. Finland’s government has already set aside 18.4 million euros for the third round.

/Addis Fortune

የአዲስ ፎርችን አዘጋጆች ግንቦት 23/2012 ለሕትመት በበቃው ርዕሰ አንቀጽ ላይ ያደረጉት ዉይይት

11 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)



At Least 90 Ethiopian Health Workers Tested Positive for COVID-19

9 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

June 8, 2020 (Ezega.com) — At least 90 Ethiopian health workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as the number of citizens infected by the pandemic rises to 2020 across the country.

The health workers contracted the virus from outgoing patients in various health centers across the country, Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse said in a daily briefing.

The minister further added most of the cases which make up 91 percent of the total infections among the health community are in Addis Ababa.

The pandemic has already claimed the lives of 27 Ethiopians and seven deaths, the highest ever was reported on Sunday.

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Coronavirus turns to mercilessly infecting Ethiopia; five fatalities in single day

9 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Addis Ababa (ENA) — The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia rose by 190 over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,336.

It also reported 5 new fatalities from coronavirus, taking the total death toll in Ethiopia to 32.

In its daily update, the Ministry of Health disclosed that the increase in numbers follows after laboratory testing with more than 4,599 carried out over the last 24 hours.

Of the total 190 confirmed cases, 135 are males and 55 females aged between 1 and 89 years. All the infected individuals are Ethiopian nationals.

Among the identified cases, 153 are in Addis Ababa, 16 in Oromia, 10 in Amhara, and 2 in Tigray Regional States. In each Regional States of SNNPR, Harari and Somali 3 people have identified with the virus.

Meanwhile, 18 more patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the overall number of recoveries to 379.

A total of 152,334 samples have been tested in Ethiopia since the first case was reported last March.

Recall that on June 8, Ethiopia had recorded 136 infections new COVID-19 fatalities, which was the highest single-day surge since the pandemic hit the country in early March, raising the death toll to 27.

The new figures may also be a function of expansion of testing in the country, which daily is reaching about 5,000 people.


Pandemic is blessing for Abiy but curse for Ethiopian democracy

3 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Mebratu Kelecha

Prime Minister should not use the coronavirus crisis to consolidate power @Ethiopia Insight

Democracy has been the driving force of political movements in Ethiopia since the 1960s, but its protagonists have, all-too-often, indulged in violence and bloodshed. The political forces that emerged from the Ethiopian student movement of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party and the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (MEISON) called for democracy but engaged in mutual assassination in its name before the military regime decimated both parties.

The military regime also claimed to have pursuing “socialist democracy” in a later period of its rule. The TPLF-engineered EPRDF regime which came to power in 1991 introduced “electoral democracy,” but remained a minority ethnic dictatorship, expelling potential rivals and regularly accusing  any critics and opposition parties of being anti-democratic.

In the end, the TPLF was confronted with Frankenstein moment, as resurgent groups within the ruling coalition it has created in the 1990s captured the centre and caused the creator’s trouble, aided by street protests that helped propel Abiy Ahmed to power. Political differences among those claiming to be fighting for democracy, both in and out of elections, frequently, almost normally, embraced violence rather than votes, reinforcing what they claimed to be irreconcilable differences between good and evil. Demonization, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and physical elimination have continued as major mechanisms to resolve differences. Hence, the struggle for it has done little to develop or maintain the reality of democracy since a democratically elected government remains the deprioritized goal of political leaders.

When Abiy took office in April 2018 he promised to build a democratic Ethiopian state, and his early reforms were promising, though the political transition he launched, while largely nonviolent in origin, involved  hostile  rhetoric against the TPLF.  From the outset, Abiy faced significant challenge of governing and implementing changes in conditions of continuing instability, testing his capacity, and his intent, to govern effectively and carry out democratic reforms simultaneously. A successful response required significant mobilization of support needed to consolidate the achievements of his early reforms to guarantee a successful transition. The country’s recent experience of nonviolent resistance, which brought Abiy to power, has made it clear that repression is no longer an option as it will not create a submissive population, and any return to dictatorship can only intensify protests.

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ኮቪድ-19ና የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ አፈጻጸምና የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ በኢትዮጵያ

27 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

የኮቪድ-19 ወረርሸኝ ሥርጭትን ለመከላከል፣ ለመቆጣጠር እና የሚያስከትለውን ጉዳት ለመቀነስ በኢትዮጵያ የታወጀውን አስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ እና ማስፈጸሚያ ደንብ በተመለከተ በኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽን የተከናወነ የሕግና ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ትንተና

ግንቦት 2012

Legal/Human Rights Analysis of the Declaration of State of Emergency in Ethiopia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
7 May 2020

የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት የኮቪድ-19 ወረርሽኝን ስርጭት ለመቆጣጠር መጋቢት 30 ቀን 2012 ዓ.ም. ሀገር አቀፍ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ያወጀ ሲሆን ሚያዚያ 2 ቀን 2012 ዓ.ም. የሕዝብ ተወካዮች ምክር ቤት አዋጁን ተቀብሎ አፅድቋል፡፡ ይህንንም ተከትሎ የሚኒስትሮች ምክር ቤት የአዋጁን ማስፈፀሚያ ደንብ አውጥቷል፡፡ ኢሰመኮ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ያወጀውን የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅና የማስፈፀሚያ ደንብ የግድ የሚያስብል አንገብጋቢ የማህበረሰብ ጤና ጉዳይ መኖሩን እና ይህም አካሄድ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ ስልጣን በይፋ በሕግ እንዲታወጅና ሕግን መሠረት አድርጎ እንዲተገበር ከሚያዘው የሕጋዊነት መርህ ጋር የተጣጣመ መሆኑን ይገነዘባል፡፡

በሌላ በኩል ኮሚሽኑ ባደረገው ጥናት የተወሰኑ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ ደንቡ ድንጋጌዎች ከኢፌዲሪ ሕገ መንግስትና የዓለም አቀፍ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች መርሆች ጋር የማይጣጣሙ ሆነው በመገኘታቸው፤ ከሕገ መንግሥቱና ዓለም አቀፍ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ጋር እንዲጣጣሙ ለማድረግ እንደገና እንዲመረመሩና ተገቢው ማሻሻያ እንዲደረግ ምክረ ሀሳብ አቅርቧል።

ከአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁና ደንቡ የሚመነጩ አንኳር ስጋቶች እንዲሁም ሕገ መንግሥታዊና ዓለም አቀፋዊ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች መርሆችን ሳይሸራረፉ ለማረጋገጥ አበርክቶ ያላቸው የኮሚሽኑ ምክረ ሀሳቦች የተካተቱበትን ሙሉ የሕግና የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ትንተና ሰነድ በአማርኛ እና እንግሊዝኛ ቋንቋዎች ለማግኘት ከታች የተመለከተውን ማስፈንጠርያ ይጫኑ፡፡

ማስታወሻ፡ የኢፌዲሪ ጠቅላይ ዐቃቤ ሕግ በዚህ በኮሚሽኑ በተዘጋጀዉ የሕግ ትንተና እና ምክረ ሃሳቦችን አስመልክቶ በሰጠው ምላሽ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ እና የማስፈፀሚያ ደንቡ የኢፌዲሪ ሕገ መንግስት አንቀፅ 93ን መሰረት በማድረግ እንዲሁም በሕገ መንግስቱ አንቀፅ 93 /4/ ሐ ስር እና ሀገሪቱ ፈርማ ባፀደቀቻቸው የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ስምምነቶች መሰረት በአስቸኳይ ጊዜ የማይታገዱ (non-derogable) ናቸዉ ተብለው የተጠቀሱትን መብቶችና ነፃነቶች በማይጥስ መልኩ እና ወረርሽኙን ለመከላከል እና እንዳይስፋፋ ለማድረግ የሚያግዙ እርምጃዎችን ብቻ መሰረት በማድረግ የወጡ እንደሆኑ አስረድቷል። በተጨማሪም የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ እርምጃዎቹ ዋነኛ አላማ መብቶችን ለመገደብ ሳይሆን “የመብቶች ሁሉ እናት የሆነውን በህይወት የመኖር መብት ለማስጠበቅ እና በዚህም እነዚህን እርምጃዎች ሳንወስድ ብንቀር ሊከሰት የሚችለውን ሌሎች በርካታ የዜጎች መሰረታዊ መብቶች የሚጣሱበትን አስቸጋሪ ሁኔታ ለመከላከል እና ለማስቀረት መሆኑ ልብ ሊባል ይገባል” በሚል ገልጿል።

Legal/Human Rights Analysis of the Declaration of State of Emergency in Ethiopia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (7 May 2020)

On 8 April 2020, the Ethiopian Government declared a national state of emergency to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Federal House of Peoples’ Representatives approved the state of emergency proclamation on 10 April 2020. The Council of Ministers has subsequently issued the Regulation to implement the state of emergency. EHRC recognizes the public health emergency needs for the issuance of the State of Emergency Proclamation and Regulation by the Ethiopian Government which is also consistent with the principle of legality that any such emergency powers should be officially declared and exercised in accordance with the law.

On the other hand, a study by EHRC has identified some provisions of the Emergency Regulation which are inconsistent with the Constitution and international human rights standards and need to be considered for review and possible amendment with a view to ensuring their full compatibility with the Constitution and international human rights standards.

Click on the link below to download Amharic and English versions of the full analysis outlining key human rights concerns arising from the State of Emergency Proclamation and Regulation as well as EHRC’s recommendations.


In response to EHRC’s analysis and recommendations, the Office of Federal Attorney General explained that the state of emergency was proclaimed in accordance with Article 93 of the FDRE Constitution and in a manner that does not impinge on the rights and freedoms that are not subject derogations under Article 93 (4) (c) and human rights treaties ratified by Ethiopia and based solely on measures that are meant to prevent and control the spread of the pandemic. Furthermore, it stated that the primary purpose of the emergency measures is not to restrict rights, but to “protect the right to life which is the mother of all rights and to prevent the infringement of many other fundamental human rights that would otherwise occur if [government] failed to take these actions.”



/  Ethiopian Human Rights Commission




Scientists in China believe new drug can stop pandemic ‘without vaccine’

19 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the coronavirus pandemic to a halt.

The outbreak first emerged in China late last year before spreading across the world, prompting an international race to find treatments and vaccines.

A drug being tested by scientists at China’s prestigious Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say.

Sunney Xie, director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, told AFP that the drug has been successful at the animal testing stage.

“When we injected neutralising antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” said Xie.

Sunney Xie, director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, told AFP that the drug has been successful at the animal testing stage (AFP / WANG ZHAO) 

“That means this potential drug has (a) therapeutic effect.”

The drug uses neutralising antibodies — produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells — which Xie’s team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients.

A study on the team’s research, published Sunday in the scientific journal Cell, suggests that using the antibodies provides a potential “cure” for the disease and shortens recovery time.

Xie said his team had been working “day and night” searching for the antibody.

“Our expertise is single-cell genomics rather than immunology or virology. When we realised that the single-cell genomic approach can effectively find the neutralising antibody we were thrilled.”

He added that the drug should be ready for use later this year and in time for any potential winter outbreak of the virus, which has infected 4.8 million people around the world and killed more than 315,000.

“Planning for the clinical trial is underway,” said Xie, adding it will be carried out in Australia and other countries since cases have dwindled in China, offering fewer human guinea pigs for testing.


Read the rest on the original source: AFP

F.D.A. Halts Coronavirus Testing Program Backed by Bill Gates

18 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

SEATTLE — An innovative coronavirus testing program in the Seattle area — promoted by the billionaire Bill Gates and local public health officials as a way of conducting wider surveillance on the invisible spread of the virus — has been ordered by the federal government to stop its work pending additional reviews.

The program involved sending home test kits to both healthy and sick people in the hope of conducting the kind of widespread monitoring that could help communities safely reopen from lockdowns. Researchers and public health authorities already had tested thousands of samples, finding dozens of previously undetected cases.

But the program, a partnership between research groups and the Seattle and King County public health department that had been operating under authorization from the state, was notified this week that it now needs approval directly from the federal government.  Officials with the Food and Drug Administration told the partnership to cease its testing and reporting until the agency grants further approval.

“Please discontinue patient testing and return of diagnostic results to patients until proper authorization is obtained,” the F.D.A. wrote in a memo.

The delay is the latest evidence of how a splintered national effort to develop, distribute and ramp up testing has left federal regulators struggling to keep up. Amid concerns about the reliability of a burgeoning number of coronavirus antibody tests — which check whether someone may have previously had the virus — the F.D.A. responded last week by ordering companies to submit data proving the tests’ accuracy.

But the Seattle program does not test for antibodies and has wide backing, including from public health leaders, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Mr. Gates, whose foundation has been deeply involved in fighting the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provided an in-person technical adviser to the project.

The Seattle partnership that is conducting the testing, the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, said in a statement that it had been in conversation with the Food and Drug Administration about its program for about 10 weeks and submitted data a month ago.

“We are actively working to address their questions,” the group said.

The program has roots in the Seattle Flu Study, which over the fall and winter had collected thousands of samples from people in Washington State who had symptoms of illness. As previously detailed in The New York Times, researchers there had struggled to get government approval to test those old samples for the coronavirus and report the results.

By the end of February, those researchers ended up doing some testing anyway, discovered the first case of community transmission in the region and provided key evidence that the virus had most likely been circulating for weeks.

Mr. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder who has committed much of his wealth to global public health issues, has backed the Seattle study. He said in a blog post Tuesday that the program could detect cases and help guide public health responses.

“Not only will it help improve our understanding of the outbreak in Seattle, it will also provide valuable information about the virus for other communities around the world,” Mr. Gates wrote

An F.D.A. spokesperson said home collection kits raised additional concerns about safety and accuracy that required the agency’s review. The issue in the Seattle case appears to be that the test results are being used not only by researchers for surveillance of the virus in the community but that the results are also being returned to patients to inform them.


Pls read the rest from the original source— The New York Times


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