“Our resources are frighteningly limited”: Ekram’s Story

Monday 27 April 2020

Ekram Mayiden, 25, is Immunization Health Worker at Idora primary health care centre, Somali Region, Ethiopia.

Save the Children, under its Emergency Health and Nutrition Program, supports the Expanded Program of Immunization project at the health centre where Ekram works. Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund (EHF) financially supports it. 

We spoke to Ekram about the possible impact of COVID 19 on her work and the community she passionately serves. Here is what she said: 

“In the last three months, the Coronavirus is spreading fast all over the world affecting millions of people in many countries. It is sad to hear that countless people have already lost their lives and many have become infected by the deadly disease. As a health professional here, I am really worried and scared by the situation. It is worrying to see that even well developed countries with advanced health system are facing a big challenge, and were unable to stop the spread. 

Compared to the developed countries, we have very poor health service system, limited resources and not enough health professionals. I am very worried and scared that the coronavirus epidemic could easily spread in to our country and what it will do to our very weak health system.   

My other biggest concern is our people are pastoralists and highly mobile, that puts them at greater risk for Coronavirus 

Our village is very close to the border with Djibouti where the Coronavirus is spreading very fast, and the community here are pastoralists and are highly mobile. There is also a large amount of travel between Djibouti and people from this village.     

We continue to provide regular health education to our community about the pandemic and how they should protect themselves. We use high school students to reach the wider community with key messages. Through the volunteers, we also conduct regular disease surveillance activity to trace suspected cases and identify new visitors coming to the village. 

Currently, the biggest challenge here is the lack of personal protective equipment like facemask, gloves and other protective resources. As front line health workers, we are the ones who are at great risk of contracting the virus. We are closely following the situation and preparing ourselves to deal with a possible outbreak. We will do whatever it takes to protect our community and ourselves but we do not have much. We are doing the best we can to deal with what could be a very bad situation but our resources are frighteningly limited.

We need the basic medical supplies and personal protective equipment to protect our community and ourselves 

What Save the Children is doing in the region: 

In the Sitti zone of Somali Region, we are distributing hygiene kits including sanitizers, hand washing jails and containers to health facilities to support the fight against the deadly disease. So far, we have reached 62 health facilities across five woredas (districts) in the area.