The threat of COVID-19 is a global concern for the health of the world population and the economy. As the second most populated country in Africa and a major economic actor, Ethiopia isn’t an exception and is ramping up aggressive measures to combat the pandemic. 

Under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) was formed at the federal level to ensure that emergency services monitor the changing situation and that the health system keeps functioning. Because of its expertise in infection prevention and control (IPC), the USAID-funded MTaPS Program participated in technical discussions with the rapid response team at EPHI/EOC, assisting in the development of the national COVID-19 IPC training material.

MTaPS supports regular monitoring of IPC compliance at facility access points and isolation units. As a partner of the MoH and EPHI, MTaPS supports training health care workers at isolation, treatment, and quarantine centers on the WHO COVID-19-specific IPC guidance. 

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and the spread in different regions of the country, health care workers are vulnerable to acquiring the infection while caring for or screening suspected COVID-19 patients. It is thus critical to strengthen the country’s preparedness by equipping health professionals with the knowledge and skills regarding this novel coronavirus. 

MTaPS supported EPHI in conducting two rounds of training of trainers (ToT) for health professionals (physicians, nurses, environmental health) drawn from different regions of the country on May 2-4 and May 11-14 in Addis Ababa. The objective of the trainings was to equip health professionals with basic knowledge on COVID-19, including surveillance, case management, IPC, and risk communication. A total of 54 health professionals (41 male and 13 female) participated in the training, which included personal protectives measures, donning and doffing PPE, adherence to proper hand hygiene, as well as health education guidance for patients to enhance application of standard precautions. 

“These trained health professionals will cascade COVID-19 trainings for health professionals working in 122 isolation, quarantine, and treatment facilities in their respective regions. With these trainings, we want to ensure that every health worker in the country is able to safely provide care to their patients, as it only takes one gap in the health system to jeopardize hard-fought gains,” indicated Antenane Korra, Senior Advisor for MTaPS.

Training participants visit Silk Road Hospital (a COVID-19 patient treatment center) May 12, 2020. Photo credit: Tewodros Fantahun

Training participants visit Silk Road Hospital (a COVID-19 patient treatment center) May 12, 2020. Photo credit: Tewodros Fantahun