Ethio-UK medical professionals discuss impact of COVID-19

30 Jun 2020

On 28th June, the Embassy hosted Ethiopian Medical Doctors in the UK led by Dr. Merid Gebru, who passed on their experience of handling Covid-19 in the UK that might be transferable to Ethiopia.

Dr. Addisalem Taye, of Public Health Scotland, commended the handling of the first 100 days of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, especially the home-visits to over 32 million people, and related her experience of how scientific evidence is collated. During lockdown, careful thought should be given to easing Covid-19 public health measures while keeping Covid-19 at bay. The group fully appreciates the formidable challenges developing countries, with limited resources, face with the unpredictable nature of Covid-19. Constant monitoring is essential to controlling the disease.

Virologist Dr. Abraham Teferi said the designation of hospitals in Ethiopian cities to the sole care of patients with Covid-19 was highly commendable, as it allowed emergency medical provisions to continue for non-COVID patients, who should be encouraged to use them, reducing serious complications and deaths from other medical conditions. PPE is crucial from the very early stages, especially for health care workers with increased risk factors such as pregnancy and underlying health conditions, who should be redeployed to non-front-line care to reduce fatalities.

Paediatrician Dr. Yonas Chernet said Covid-19 is less common in children who tend to have milder symptoms and most can be cared for at home. Up to 20% of children with Covid-19 may be asymptomatic. Only a tiny percentage of children develop severe symptoms. Routine immunisation services must continue. Children should be shielded from domestic violence to avoid extreme stress, leading to mental illness in their later years, and education must continue during lockdown.

Psychiatrist Dr. Yohannes Mekonen, said Covid-19 induces fear but most people survive. This brings reassurance, which can bolster immunity. People should minimise access to news about Covid-19 and use the WHO and other reliable websites. Lockdowns can exacerbate existing mental illness. Covid-19 patients should not be stigmatised but shown compassion, C-19 can bring out the best in humanity, and “kindness is therapy to the mind and soul of the giver”. She also emphasised the need to care for those in frontline services.

The full discussion will be available on our YouTube page soon.


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