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COVID-19 in Ethiopia: No customers, no income for father of 10

Emergency Health
Ethiopia

The entire city of Fafan is under lockdown, and Mohamed fears for his family and is stressed that the pandemic might extend in the region. Humanity & Inclusion is there to support him.  

Mohamed repairing a mobile phone | © HI

Mohamed Badal is a 45-year-old father of 10, living in Fafan, a rural city in the Somali region, southeast Ethiopia. He is an owner of an electronic maintenance business. Like many small businesses, income has been deeply hit by the lockdown, causing him a lot of stress. Our team recently checked in with Mohamed to see how he was doing. Here’s what he told us:

How COVID-19 changes daily life

I work as electronic maintenance technician. My wife has a small restaurant. We were all doing ok before COVID-19, but now our daily income from the restaurant and electronic maintenance business is at risk. Demand from customers has rapidly declined, and our daily income is impacted. Customers who were traveling from surrounding villages are unable to come due to travel restrictions. I am really worried about my family’s future.

Living in isolation

Everyone is living in in isolation for fear of contracting the coronavirus . And due to travel restrictions, it’s difficult to reach social or heath services. When I needed treatment for tuberculosis, I was not able to go to the Jijiga Karamarda Hospital. Nobody wanted to take me there. There is so much fear among the community, so social cohesion is affected.

Living in fear

I fear the virus. It is currently a stressful living condition and I am worried about the impact for the future if COVID-19 continues to spread. If the virus hits the area hard, life will be even more difficult.

Impact for the future

I would like our easy daily life back, with a daily income, free movement and social interaction. I like my job of maintaining electronics, and I would also like to a become role model to show other community members that people with disabilities are capable and strong enough to manage their daily life.

Staying informed about COVID-19

I am well informed. I’ve obtained prevention information from Humanity & Inclusion and the government. Some of the information is about washing hands with soap and water, and to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth before hand washing. It’s also recommended not to shake hands.

I also received hygiene kits from Humanity & Inclusion. COVID-19 can be prevented by following the instruction provided by health professionals like maintaining physical distancing and avoiding mass gatherings.

I am personally able to implement these prevention measures, but physical distancing is difficult, because for the community here, being together is very important and people are not very disciplined, it isn’t easy to learn new practices.

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