Dr. Mekuriaw Alemayehu: my combat against the spread of COVID-19

I work in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety at Gondar University. My background is in basic science, environmental health science and public health. My participation in various community service initiatives brought me into contact with NALA. Since March, I have led NALA’s COVID-19 response in Gondar Town.

Although there are not yet any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gondar Town, there is concern due to our proximity to Metema and the border with Sudan. Early education and preparation are essential to the area. However, education about social distancing is especially difficult due to the societal norms here, but we have seen some progress. Together with NALA, I have been able to help on many fronts: installing hand-washing stations, messaging, and distribution of PPE materials to health centers.

After installation, two of the hand washing stations that we placed next to the main road were run over by donkeys. Our volunteers immediately alerted the police, and they located the donkey owner. After negotiations, the donkey owner agreed to replace the broken faucets. Since then, we have maintained the stations in working condition--a happy outcome!