Ohio State's Global One Health initiative (GOHi) and global partners are actively working on mitigating the effects of COVID-19, both locally and internationally. The following key activities have been progressing.
The Global One Health initiative (GOHi) at The Ohio State University conducted a survey in Ethiopia to gauge awareness of and perceptions about COVID-19 and Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)—the actions, excluding getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses.
The GOHi regional office in Ethiopia worked in partnership with faculty from Ohio State’s CHRR in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Medicine, along with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute and the Resolve to Save Lives initiative to complete the rapid COVID-19 communication survey, which targeted 834 community members.
The team conducted the polling via telephone in five major cities in Ethiopia—Addis Ababa, Gondar, Mekelle, Adama and Hawassa.
Ultimately, the results showed that although people know about COVID-19 and understand how it is transmitted, there were misconceptions about the source of infection, levels of risk and possible treatments and cures. Twenty-five percent of respondents believed that they have no risk of catching COVID-19 and a majority believed in incorrect forms of treatments. The results also identified challenges in several key areas of readiness, including lack of hospital capacity.
The report was provided to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Advisory Council so that they can create accurate and actionable communications strategies around COVID-19.
The hope is to better explain the magnitude of the risk to the community and increase acceptance of NPIs to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Regional Director Getnet Yimer, MD, provided a nationally televised seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on national and global security. In this seminar, Dr. Getnet addressed key highlights of how public health issues are at the forefront of national security issues. COVID-19 has shown to have impact on nations' economies and an increase in violence is a key expected outcome according an African Union PERC study.
GOHi Community Health Director, Shu-Hua Wang, MD, and Executive Director Wondwossen Gebreyes provided community outreach activities to central Ohio Ethiopian community church located in White Hall. They covered how to appropriately utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to balance religious and cultural norms with COVID-19 transmission concerns.
Gebreyes also recently moderated a global panel on COVID-19 risk communication, travel and psychosocial aspects that was jointly organized by People to People, the Ethiopian Minister of Transportation and the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States. The webinar panel brought together more than 100 participants.
A GOHi faculty lead, Joan-Miquel Balada Llasat, PharmD, PhD, D(ABMM), and the GOHi regional office team in Ethiopia received a new research project award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct serological testing of COVID-19 in Ethiopia. The project will assess the past exposure of COVID-19 among more than 3,000 community members in Ethiopia. As the testing coverage in the country is currently low, this study would bring a better understanding of the true extent of asymptomatic carriage in the region.