Jun 30, 2020

NIH-Fogarty fellows are combating COVID-19 in eastern Africa

2019 Fellows with GOHi Team Members

One of GOHi’s flagship activity, One Health Eastern African Research and Training program (OHEART) is aimed at building highly trained core professionals in the area of infectious diseases and enhancing the effort of the eastern African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania) toward sustainable development.

The program has been active since 2010 with major financial support from the NIH-Fogarty international center. OHEART heavily relies in knowledge and skill exchanges in the area of infectious and zoonotic diseases, and at this time of need, OHEART fellows are giving back the skills and knowledge they obtained as part of the research-training program to their respective home countries.

Eyasu Tigabu and Rajiha Abubeker (OHEART postdoctoral and PhD fellows respectively) along with colleagues at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) worked to mobilize the national bacteriology and mycology reference laboratory at EPHI to be the second in the nation to perform real time PCR for detection and confirmation of COVID-19 cases, dramatically scaling up the testing capacity in EPHI.

In the eastern part of Ethiopia in one of the newly established COVID-19 testing center, previous fellow, Yitagel Mekonen, is providing COVID-19 testing in a re-purposed molecular laboratory at Haramaya University.

In Kenya, Rael Too (OHEART PhD fellow) is supporting the Kenyan Medical Research Institute COVID-19 testing from laboratory preparations of patient samples to finial submission of the result to the ministry of health.