The first known case of covid-19 in Ethiopia was on 13th February 2020. In April the number of cases began to rise and the government declared a state of emergency to curb its spread. The severe new restrictions included a ban of more than 4 people meeting, an introduction of 2 metre social distancing, a 50% reduction of passengers on public transport, the closure of schools & universities and only cargo & essential goods were allowed to cross the border.
The restrictions have made life in Ethiopia difficult with long queues to get to work or no work at all. If you have no work, you have no income and starvation becomes a bigger threat than Covid-19. Fortunately there have been far fewer cases than the initial estimates by the WHO. Despite very limited medial resources there have only been 1,141 deaths and 71,083 cases in an estimated population of 110 million (23rd September). Several reasons have been suggested for the lower numbers including, a younger population, the quick response from the government, less widespread travel and previous partial immunity conferred by other endemic infections.
Hospice Ethiopia UK has continued to support Hospice Ethiopia during the pandemic with financial support, assisting with the procurement of PPE and advice about adjusting the day to day running of the hospice. The day unit has been closed and these patients are now supported by phone. Our fundraising has been severely curtailed this year by the pandemic but we were delighted to raise £439 at the Mannington Hall Charities day on September 6th. We’re also very grateful to donors who have set up a standing order, which ensures regular funds for Hospice Ethiopia. If you would like to help Hospice Ethiopia in this way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our fundraising is used to care for people like Maaza (not her real name) in Addis Ababa. She was a 30 year old lady with cancer of her lower jaw. Following surgery, the wound became infected so it didn’t heal. Her face became distorted by the mass which did not respond to chemotherapy. By the time the Hospice Ethiopia nurses met her, she hadn’t had a proper might’s sleep for 3 months. The pain & distress were overwhelming. The nurse reported Maaza “felt sad, hopeless and unworthy”.
The nurses visited her frequently at home; they provided medicines & dressings to control the pain & infection. They also gave her information about her illness as she previously had no understanding about it.
Although her illness could not be cured, her quality of life was greatly improved and she and her husband were able to sleep at night. Two months later, Maaza died peacefully at home with her family, free from pain & distress.