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Establishing Sustainable Handwashing Water Strategies to Manage the Spread of COVID-19 in the Regional State of Tigray, Ethiopia

Asayehgn Desta, Sarlo Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development, USA and

Hadush Berhe, Deputy Managing Director and Assistant Professor in Industrial Engineering with Production and Industrial Systems Engineering Streams, Mekelle University, Ethiopia


As the pandemic of COVID-19 spread across the world, many African countries undertook monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate their economies and to provide disaster relief to poor people and companies. In addition to undertaking the monetary and fiscal stimulus packages, the various Ethiopian governments have attempted to shoulder various preventive health-related measures such as staying at home, handwashing with clean water, mask-wearing, and maintaining proper social distancing to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, since Ethiopia, prior to COVID-19, was faced with a fragile economic environment and poor health infrastructure, the demand management policies (monetary and fiscal) that it undertook had starkly limited impact to spark the subdued Ethiopia’s economy.

Similarly, as the costs of the stringent health-related preventive measures applied to Ethiopian situation outstripped their benefits, their effects were less fruitful. For example, rather than serving the Ethiopian people to be released from coronavirus attack, the staying-at-home policy that was advocated to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus was seen as means of contributing more to the deaths of poor people from starvation. Also, the maintaining social distancing that was advocated as an effective way of slowing the threat the coronavirus had limited impact in Ethiopia because 4 to 5 family members share one room they were subject to being vulnerable to catching COVID-19.

Key terms: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Monetary and Fiscal Policies Stimulants, Staying at home, Hand washing, Mask-wearing, Social distancing   


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