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COVID-19 in Ethiopia: A geospatial analysis of vulnerability to infection, case severity and death

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 23:55 authored by Alene, KA, Gelaw, YA, Fetene, DM, Koye, DN, Melaku, YA, Gesesew, H, Birhanu, MM, Adane, AA, Muluneh, MD, Dachew, BA, Abrha, S, Aregay, A, Ayele, AA, Woldesellassie BezabheWoldesellassie Bezabhe, Gebremariam, KT, Gebremedhin, T, Gebremedhin, AT, Gebremichael, L, Geleto, AB, Kassahun, HT, Kibret, GD, Leshargie, CT, Mekonnen, A, Mirkuzie, AH, Mohammed, H, Tegegn, HG, Tesema, AG, Tesfay, FH, Wubishet, BL, Kinfu, Y

Background: COVID-19 has caused a global public health crisis affecting most countries, including Ethiopia, in various ways. This study maps the vulnerability to infection, case severity and likelihood of death from COVID-19 in Ethiopia.

Methods: Thirty-eight potential indicators of vulnerability to COVID-19 infection, case severity and likelihood of death, identified based on a literature review and the availability of nationally representative data at a low geographic scale, were assembled from multiple sources for geospatial analysis. Geospatial analysis techniques were applied to produce maps showing the vulnerability to infection, case severity and likelihood of death in Ethiopia at a spatial resolution of 1 km×1 km.

Results: This study showed that vulnerability to COVID-19 infection is likely to be high across most parts of Ethiopia, particularly in the Somali, Afar, Amhara, Oromia and Tigray regions. The number of severe cases of COVID-19 infection requiring hospitalisation and intensive care unit admission is likely to be high across Amhara, most parts of Oromia and some parts of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region. The risk of COVID-19-related death is high in the country's border regions, where public health preparedness for responding to COVID-19 is limited.

Conclusion: This study revealed geographical differences in vulnerability to infection, case severity and likelihood of death from COVID-19 in Ethiopia. The study offers maps that can guide the targeted interventions necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.


Publication title

BMJ Open



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School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


BMJ Publishing Group Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. This is is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions