On Saturday, May 16, People to People (P2P) hosted a historic conference that brought together leaders in medicine and government to explore the diagnostic and public health challenges of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
“Although this is a global pandemic, it is our responsibility as Ethiopians to all work together to solve the local challenges facing Ethiopia”
Dr. Enawgaw Mehari
After an introduction by Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder & President of P2P, H.E. Fitsum Arega, the Ethiopia Ambassador to the USA welcomed attendees and applauded the unified front Ethiopia has shown in this fight against COVID-19. He also provided updates on contributions from the Diaspora Trust Fund, Global Alliance, P2P and other groups that have provided Ethiopia with much needed personal protective equipment (PPE). The Ambassador concluded his remarks by stressing the importance of practicing social distancing and wearing a mask whenever possible.
In the first panel moderated by Dr. Kebede Begna M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, the conference dove into the critical challenges faced by healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion covered the virology, diagnostics and genomics of the virus as well as the process of test development and approval before concluding with who, when and where to prioritize testing.
“We understand how difficult it can be for the public to practice social distancing so we must continue to educate our people on all best practices to prevent exposure to the virus”
H.E. Ambassador Fitsum Arega
The second panel, moderated by Dr. Bizu Gelaye, Ph.D MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, focused on nonpharmacologic intervention (NPI) programs to address COVID-19. They explored the impact of strong public health measures, with evidence from numerous studies, including a case study from China this year. The conversation ultimately shifted to the many challenges of implementing NPIs in Ethiopia and the critical role public health engagement with the community will play in effectively earning public buy-in.
The conference highlighted the importance of the holistic approach that must be taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia. We’ve included a video of the entire webinar above. Highlights from the conference were tweeted live by Jegna and can be found in this Twitter Moment.