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The forecasts for the impact of COVID-19 in Ethiopia are shocking.
According to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute the number of expected infections will affect millions of people in the country.
Moreover, the impact of the pandemic will exacerbate the already fragile situation in Ethiopia, characterized by internal conflict, forced displacement, severe food insecurity, acute malnutrition, natural disasters and lack of access to clean water and basic services.
In addition, the Ethiopian health system is marked by decades of little or no investment, lack of funds and qualified personnel, as well as a shortage of infrastructure, equipment, drugs and supplies.
In Addis Ababa, the St. Gabriel’s Hospital provides a comprehensive health service to the community. Most of the services at the health centre are free of charge, as people with very limited resources or who are marginalized are the first beneficiaries of the facility.
It offers pre-natal and post-natal care programs, programs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of AIDS, and programs for the comprehensive management of childhood and neonatal illnesses for children under 5 years of age.
St. Gabriel’s Hospital (SGCHC ) was built by Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (ECC-SDCO) and the Social Promotion Foundation, thanks to co-financing from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (2007-2010) and the Government of Valencia (2009-2012).
Since COVID-19 is an emergency for which there was no prior preparation, St. Gabriel Hospital has had to face a multitude of challenges, one of the main ones being the frustration of the health staff in attending to patients.
To address staff frustration, a two-day sensitization session was conducted by highly trained COVID-19 professionals. These staff came from the Black Lion Hospital (the government’s tertiary hospital). Seventy N95 masks were then purchased and distributed to all staff. Since the SGCHC cannot buy more PPEs and disinfectants, a request was made to the government office. The government ordered the health centre to focus on the prevention of COVID-19.
But the need for PPEs is very urgent to provide minimum safety conditions for health personnel.
The Social Promotion Foundation is committed to seeking funding, and has also launched a campaign to buy this equipment.