Beyond plunging the nation into a quagmire of ethnic tension, Ethiopia’s ongoing Tigray conflict has become the catalyst for a potentially greater crisis: an outbreak of disease. This is the dire warning sounded recently by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Amid threats of secession by the Tigrayan leadership, Ethiopia’s government launched a military strike against the region in November, causing a major break in the flow of humanitarian aid. This has caused severe disruption in essential health services in the area, with disastrous consequences.
Between January & November of 2020, over 9,000 cases of malaria were reported within the region, with over 4,000 cases of measles diagnosed in children. During the same period, over 6, 700 cases of Covid-19 were reported, with 47 deaths. According to WHO estimates, over 4.5 million people in the region require assistance. Half of these are children.
Many hospitals & clinics are only partially functioning, say observers. And with the UN & other humanitarian agencies given only limited access to the area, the need for essential healthcare services is dire. Health experts warn that without urgent intervention, future outbreaks of disease can be expected. In addition to more incidences of Covid-19, malaria & measles, the spread of yellow fever & meningitis are also likely, they say.
Moreover, the threat of starvation looms large over the region, exacerbating the dangers of disease. The Tigrayan conflict is one which is all too familiar for Pascal Mukadi, a healthcare entrepreneur with business & philanthropic interests across Africa. He warns that, unless Africa develops stronger mechanisms for dealing with conflict, its healthcare systems will remain one of the greatest threats to its development.
“Over 60 years since the dawn of independence on the continent, Africa remains chained by our inability to resolve our differences” says Mukadi, founder of the Pascal Mukadi Foundation (PMF), an NGO.
“Because of this, we are literally destroying the lives of our people – mind & body. We’ll never
achieve our potential until we rid ourselves of this tendency.”
Through PMF, Mukadi seeks to develop & strengthen healthcare systems across Africa by promoting investment, skills transfer & leadership. In collaboration with governments, businesses & academic institutions, he implements public-private partnerships across the continent. He looks forward to working with Ethiopia to develop its healthcare infrastructure.
“Ethiopia will be one an economic engine for East Africa, and a key player on the continent” says Mukadi. “We can’t allow that destiny to be delayed or hampered in any way.”
“As PMF, we’re looking forward to partnering with this dynamic country.”
Written by: Mambande Thomas
Editor MFM Media