Over 3.6 Million People Reached by IOM in Ethiopia in 2020 for Prevention and Mitigation of COVID-19
Addis Ababa – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on immense challenges for Ethiopia, a country whose already strained healthcare system faces enormous challenges. With a population of 110 million people there is only an estimated one doctor to 10,000 people in the country.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported today (23/02) that over 3.6 million people in Ethiopia were reached by the organization for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation during 2020. In the first year of the global pandemic, IOM attended to a variety of beneficiaries including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and victims of human trafficking, as well as people living in host communities.
The 3.6 million reached by IOM includes vulnerable communities and over 239,000 IDPs living in camp-like settings. Assistance was provided to over 43,000 Ethiopian migrants who returned home during the pandemic. Moreover, at least 80 IOM staff deployed to various parts of the country and some 2,000 medical and healthcare practitioners were trained by IOM to support the Ethiopian Government’s national response to the pandemic.
Many in the beneficiary groups—including children and other vulnerable persons—received Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves, access to handwashing facilities and other types of hygiene and sanitation, and information about COVID-19. IOM’s COVID-19 response also included Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for vulnerable populations.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, IOM has worked closely with the Government of Ethiopia and partners to ensure that migrants and mobile populations are included in Ethiopia’s efforts to mitigate the virus’ impact.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented challenges for mobile populations in the region—including for vulnerable Ethiopian migrants stranded in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf—and IDPs in Ethiopia living in congested displacement sites with limited access to water and sanitation facilities.
Ethiopia registered 124,264 COVID-19 cases and 1,923 deaths in 2020, making it the country in the East and Horn of Africa Region with the highest number of cases and deaths recorded.
“COVID-19 awareness-raising and community engagement was in 2020, and still is, essential to Ethiopians as the spread of the pandemic continues”, said Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). “Through strong partnerships with Government of Ethiopia´s key ministries and departments, sister UN agencies, and national and international civil society organizations, IOM is proud to say it has reached millions of people to try and stop the disease and protect them from COVID-19.”
IOM’s COVID-19 response in Ethiopia has been made possible with generous support from the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund, the European Union, and the governments of Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and USA.
Further details on IOM’s COVID-19 response in Ethiopia are available here.