- 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 expected in fortnight
Ethiopia is now getting ready to treat 10,000 new COVID-19 cases as it has recently launched mass testing for coronavirus. The country would carry out 200,000 COVID-19 testing in two weeks and anticipates 10,000 new cases through community-based movement and testing campaign.
According to State Minister of Health Dr. Dereje Duguma, the campaign will help to increase the national daily testing capacity to 15,000 from the current 11,450.
To this end, the country has already imported one million testing kits, he said, adding that other necessary items are also stored by the and would be made available to its 46 laboratories soon.
"Each laboratory needs to achieve at least 85 to 90 percent of its testing quota per day." The campaign aims to identify and treat the expected 10,000 positive people in health institutions or at home, he noted.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has identified vulnerable citizens in accordance with types of jobs. Hence, security professionals, health workers, laborers and people with low income are more vulnerable to this global pandemic including patients of HIV AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
Moreover, the ministry has selected 1,000 places where vulnerable people live and work together so that the testing campaign will give due attention to those places. MoH is also offering training to all health professionals designated in COVID-19 response to move in full capacity to test and protect the pandemic as fast as possible, he noted.
The government will also evaluate the outcome of the campaign through time in order to ease national restrictions in terms of education, and businesses in contrast with the pandemic.
The committees organized across the country to combat the pandemic led by the ministry and presidents of each state will work hand in hand to achieve the campaign. MoH wants leadership commitment at federal and regional level than any other times to achieve the campaign through awaking and reminding the people to respect the laws implemented to protect the pandemic through using face masks, applying social distancing and proper sanitation among others.
"We expect them to monitor the campaign each day and hold evaluation meeting two times each week to achieve the goal," Dr. Dereje said. The plan is to cover 80 percent of the country's woredas testing peoples in 17 million houses (80 to 85 million of the total population) via providing door to door service, he stated.
As to him, the campaign is intended to reduce the pandemic surge through leadership commitment, cooperative effort among stakeholders, undertaking health and other basic services side by side.
Generally, the campaign is a gear changer in terms of making crucial national decisions like planning and implementing post COVID-19 annual programs including the academic and economic activities, he indicated. The national ministerial committee that was organized to combat coronavirus held a meeting this weekend to evaluate the undertaken measures.
Since the first case confirmed four months ago, the pandemic has been surging in Ethiopia. The current increment in new cases is due to the political instability and reluctance of the society to apply protection schemes, as to Dr. Dereje. Surprisingly, the 92 percent of confirmed cases has not shown symptoms of the pandemic, he mentioned.
The national committee noted that the protection measures that will be taken this month will help to indicate the upcoming national activities from next Ethiopian New Year. Therefore, the committee recommended that teachers and students will play important role to achieve the campaign since they are now free following school closure due to the pandemic. The number of coronavirus is surging across the globe reaching 18 million cases and 689,000 deaths of which Ethiopia shares 18,706 cases and 310 deaths.