By Carol Guensburg
Sunday March 22, 2020
A cleaning staff wears protective gear to disinfect a metro carriage against the spreading of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 20, 2020.
WASHINGTON VOA) - A Washington-based software developer is recruiting other techies to combat the spread of the new coronavirus in his native Ethiopia, following the lead of countries such as China and South Korea with early experience in what is now a global pandemic.
“We need an army of tech volunteers to help the Ethiopian Ministry of Health collect, analyze and report to the agency so that we can assist them in the time of need,” Mike Endale wrote in his online solicitation.
“The better data collection/analysis/reporting there is, the better the response and the more effective the mitigation strategies will be.”
Since he began recruiting Tuesday on social media, Endale has enlisted more than 500 volunteers with various skills in software programing, project management, design and more, he said in a phone interview Friday.
By then, nine cases of novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, had been confirmed but no deaths had been reported in the Horn of Africa country.
Poverty and internal displacement from armed conflict have weakened the health safety net in Africa’s second most populous country, home to 114 million. And Human Rights Watch reported Friday that “[m]illions of Ethiopians living under a monthslong government-imposed shutdown of internet and phone services in western Oromia are being left in the dark.”