AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Doctors with Africa Cuamm alongside refugees: "Tigray is in great need of aid but also many opportunities to change things"

Thursday, 5 January 2023


Adigrat (Agenzia Fides) - It is still difficult to translate into concrete facts the conditions defined by the peace agreement and signed by Addis Ababa and Tigray (see Fides, 3/11/2022). The clashes have exhausted the population causing thousands of casualties, about 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and preventing access to aid to cope with the lack of food, water, medicines, basic necessities and fuel. So far the only condition implemented has been the resumption of humanitarian aid to the region in northern Ethiopia, where the food crisis and lack of medicines have led to a near humanitarian collapse.
“Tigray has enormous humanitarian needs. Many displaced individuals urgently require medical care and food aid, and the disruption of vital services has led to increasing demands, notably in the areas of nutrition and health – tells Yonas Tadesse, the project manager in Tigray -. Due to the prolonged blackout, it was difficult for local personnel to communicate with head office, causing a delay in the timely flow of information. Humanitarian access by road and air to Tigray was also disrupted, chellenging the implementation of the intervention. Mothers and children have suffered from the lack of maternal and child health services (MCH), including referral to the proper facility, as health workers have not received salaries for the last two years and the transfer of patients to the most suitable health facilities has been suspended".
CUAMM’s intervention focuses on the areas of Mekelle, Adwa and Adigrat to support three health facilities, providing medicines, supporting the treatment and referral of the sick, training local staff and raising awareness in the communities, together with the distribution of hygiene kits. Thanks to the European Union support, from May to December CUAMM has provided capacity-building training for 173 health care workers, 96 men and 77 women, at Mekelle, Adigrat, and Adwa. CUAMM has also re-established the MCH clinic at St. Merry HC in Edaga Hamus and assisted 70 deliveries, as well as performing three cesarian sections for maternal complications at Kidane Mihirt Hospital. 57 women and children were also referred to higher-level facilities with specialized services. From the start of the project (May 2002) to December 2022, 17,809 outpatient visits have been carried out.
“There is a great need but also many opportunities to change things” – concludes Tadesse. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 5/1/2023)