Maintaining the Momentum of Widening Public Awareness on COVID-19

Maintaining the Momentum of Widening Public Awareness on COVID-19

September 13, 2020 marked six-months since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ethiopia. Collectively, many of us have felt a wide range of emotions including fear, suspense, and uncertainty. Many of us have felt confined by the restrictions imposed, and frustrated by not knowing what may come next. Six months later, we find ourselves still fighting to stem the pandemic. We are doing the best we can to keep ourselves and those around us safe, while we await a clinical breakthrough.

To recognize the six-month mark since the first case of COVID -19 in Ethiopia, and to maintain the momentum of widening public awareness, Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia ran a week-long aware- ness campaign from September 7 through September 13, 2020. This week gave Amref the opportunity to reflect on the last six months, and reinforce key messages on preventative measures such as handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing, which we know are currently the most effective tools we have to fight COVID-19.

At the community level, the week-long campaign engaged Amref staff and volunteer youth leaders in the intervention areas to encourage community members to actively practice preventative measures. In Addis Ababa, youth leaders used Amref vehicles decked with key messages and images to alert the community of the risks of COVID-19. Online, Amref continued the campaign using social media to raise awareness. Staff members posted pictures with COVID -19 prevention-oriented messages, and also advocated for the continued delivery of essential services.

In addition to disseminating key COVID-19 messages, it was important for our week-long campaign to take the time to recognize the efforts and the commitment to public service of our health workers who have worked tirelessly to respond to this national emergency, and the broader health needs of Ethiopians.

Our week-long awareness campaign, marking six-months since COVID-19 entered the scene in Ethiopia, coincided with the week of the Ethiopian New Year. We welcomed 2013 with well wishes for the New Year, and a candid reminder that COVID-19 is still very real. We may not know what the future amid COVID -19 will hold, however we do know that we can take steps to protecting ourselves and those around us by wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, and frequently washing our hands. Amref has been committed to fighting COVID-19 during these first six-months, and will continue to work with the Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Regional Health Bureaus, and regional preparedness and response coordination platforms until the virus is no longer a part of our reality.  

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