Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 08 August 2017

Claiming 5,000 lives each day, tuberculosis (TB) persists to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world and a major health concern globally. In 2016, World Health Organization reported that there was an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, while a related report showed 24,000 people get infected each day.

An extra burden to the developing nations is the globally alarming rise of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB and extreme drug-resistant (XDR) TB because the treatment and management of these strains are much beyond the capacity of these nations.

Ethiopia is one of the high TB burden nations. Ministry of Health thus prioritized TB as a primary health concern and targeted to see ‘TB-free Ethiopia’ by 2035.To curb the situation, the ministry, together with several stakeholders and funding partners, has been strenuously endeavoring in the past years. This has shown tremendous result. TB induced mortality rate, for example, dropped by 63 per cent in the past two decades. While its prevalence rate currently fell to 192 from 369 per 100,000 population two decades back. Likewise, a 48 per cent decrease of the incidence rate of the plague was seen.

One among multifarious critical factors contributed to the success in the fight against TB nationally is the access and quality of treatment. Due to continued efforts and emphasis over the past, TB treatment centers are now accessible in all parts of the country from health centers to hospitals. Almost every health center at least identifies TB case, start treatment and refer to next level. Besides, there are special centers that offer treatment for complicated TB cases. One such a center that was the sole TB treatment provider until the end of 1980s is St. Peter’s TB Specialized Hospital, which also bears some historical significance. Unlike others, this hospital has immensely contributed to the national TB prevention and control efforts, according to the hospital’s General Director Yacob Seman.

Postulating that the area is breezy, has more trees and adequate oxygen-conditions minimizing the bacteria’s chance of transmission to other people if the TB patients stay there, Emperor Haileselassie established the hospital in 1960 using the residence of the then senior official in Ministry of Defense Ras Abebe Aregay.“It was a sort of wise choice based on science,” Yacob commented. Nevertheless, it was also a center for isolating TB patients.

However, through time, as TB case identification and treatment improves, it became the first and only center for TB treatment and related trainings nationally and shouldered the national burden of TB treatment for over 40 years until other hospitals were capacitated and started service. Receiving a substantial assistance from Health Ministry, it also had to support other hospitals to start TB screening and treatment owing to its better capacity and experience in TB treatment and trainings.

The increase in access of treatment in other hospitals thus significantly lessened the burden for St. Peter’s Hospital. Following this, it has been serving as a referral center for treatment of complicated TB cases. This, together with its vision of becoming center of excellence for TB treatment service and the population explosion of the capital, necessitated St. Peter’s to broaden its scope of service.

So, the hospital made a huge expansion to attain its aspirations and contribute to the national effort in fighting TB. The hospital, as any other excellence center, identified four targets towards which all the hospital’s efforts are directed. These are clinical service, research, capacity building, and community service. It has already undertaken all ground works that it is on the brink of excelling at a national level.

To excel in clinical service, St Peter’s TB Specialized hospital is giving treatment for both normal and MDR-TB. To deliver fruitful clinical service, the TB treatment unit is led by a highly qualified and well experienced internal medicine specialist who has advanced training on TB. The unit is also staffed in the same manner.“Therefore, by now we can deliver a whole range of clinical services for any TB patient referred to us without further referring. Whenever a patient requires surgery, mechanical ventilator, toxicology, or any other TB related treatment, he gets it here,” the medical director noted.

In addition, to culture laboratory and X-ray services, the hospital has now the latest TB testing technologygeneXpert.This capacity has substantially elevated the level of the hospital’s clinical service and enabled to give laboratory services for the nearby health institutions.

Yacob further mentions that delivering the whole range of TB related clinical service has had a significant impact on the national TB prevention and control efforts. “The first step in prevention and control of TB is to identify individuals with TB so as to protect the community. To this end, having advanced diagnostic center enables not to miss any TB positive cases, which might occur from absence of advanced technology.”

Another impact is that once TB is detected and the person started the necessary medication, such individuals will feel confident enough to bring family members or people living with them for screening, being a public relation to such a center. “When patients with TB complications are referred to us, they may need toxicological, dermatological, psychiatric, surgical, etc. services. If we treat these while treating the TB, they do develop the trust, so they get their families screened. But if we treat only the TB, they will get disappointed, loss the trust on the treatment and hence will not bring families.” The same holds true when they are referred to another hospital for other cases. Some admitted patients might go outside to get services they want if the hospital does not provide them.This increases the rate of spread while using transport. But providing complete service like St Peter’s will avoid this. So, these ways complete treatment trend will help prevent the spread of TB.

In addition, the trend of St. Peter’s Hospital has an impact on TB related mortality rate because the patients with complications do not die waiting for appointment, for example, to undergo surgery. The 2016 report of cure rate shows that Ethiopia’s Multidrug Resistant (MDR) and TB treatment centers are far better than any other hospital in east Africa, Yacob says, implying it conform WHO’s recommendation which requires better MDR-TB centers to order drugs to the patient if it has 75 to 79 per cent chance of cure.

Regarding research, which is the second area of excellence, the hospital has been undertaking a number of research projects that has significant impact on TB treatment, prevention and control. “Having cured patients in hospitals, we cannot still be sure whether there will come new cases if we cannot excel with TB research,” the medical director stresses.

An international research project targeted at dwindling the MDR-TB treatment duration which is 18 to 24 months to six or nine months only is undertaken in five nations. Ethiopia has been chosen to be center after thoroughly evaluating that it maximally fits the criteria by an international delegation. Yacob shows a huge hope that the fruits of the three-year successful experiment would be practical in two years’ time. “In two years’ time MDRTB drugs that would last either in six or nine months will be available.”

This would be a big relief for the nation because taking expensive drugs that adversely affect the patient for two years would be avoided, shortens the curing period and minimizes the rate of new incidence and the economic and social burden of TB. It also allows the nation to achieve a fast-track TB prevention and control.

A third element of excellence is capacity building. The hospital in collaboration with Ministry of Health offers most of the major TB related trainings for health professionals. TB prevention demands setting in place professionals that have adequate awareness and demonstrated skills on the prevention. Besides, it delivers trainings targeting specific institutions or groups based on findings of own researches.

With regards to community service, the hospital is providing service for the community with high risk to TB. Then, awareness raising on TB is held through the use of persons cured from TB, elders, volunteers team from the Hospital and religious fathers during social gathering at ‘idir’ and ‘ekub’. They have also extended the service to charity organizations like Mekedonia and Gergesenon. In centers like these there is a potential risk of TB for people here have weak immunity that the caregivers might unknowingly be risked. So, TB and screening treatment services, as well as awareness raising could help possibly detect TB cases.

The hospital is emphatically endeavoring to alter the community’s practice of taking coughs for sinus, or cold and avoiding screening until it gets worse. Besides, efforts are underway to heighten community’s awareness on how to give safer care giving to members of their family or relatives. Still, a significant focus area of the community service rests on averting the bad practice of terminating TB drugs, which the director addresses as ‘declaring suicide, because the patient develops DR-TB strains whose burdens are manifold. So, a wide-ranging tasks are carried out to meaningfully address this.

Although St. Peter’s has almost proved successful in making the hospital center of excellence, the path of the gains have not been a bed of roses. It faced problems related to quality and quantity of medical equipment, infrastructure, turnover of health professionals in the hospital, obtaining high caliber professionals for research, and drug supply.

The trends of St. Peter’s Hospital should therefore be propagated to other health institutions, particularly those identified for TB screening and treatment. This would strengthen, speed up, amplify and sustain the nation’s effort of prevention and control of the plague.

BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT

Published in Society

Carbon induced climate change and global warming has become a daunting challenge for countries across the world. People are facing problems related to recurrent drought, heavy rain fall and flooding, warming to the other extreme, the outbreak of new diseases, the rising of the water level of ocean because of the melting of snows at the north pole, drying up of water points and expansion of desertification.

These and other related burdens of climate change especially in most developing countries, the agriculture, which is the main source livelihood and influential sector, is highly affected and therefore, food price rises sharply with times.

Obviously, Ethiopia's contribution to carbon emission is insignificant accounting not more than 0.3 percent but the rate of emission could increase if appropriate measures are not in place urgently. The consequence of climate change is costing Ethiopia. It further makes the effort of poverty reduction the hardest way.

Anyways, understanding the devastating impacts of climate change, Ethiopia is the leading country to devise Climate Resilient Green Economy six years ago. Since then various climate adaptation and mitigation mechanisms have been implemented.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation Development is the responsible ministry to oversee the planning and implementation of climate resilient development programs. According to the ministry’s website, climate-resilient development activities at various sectors are well underway at a cost of over_400 million USD. The mitigation and adaptation projects are implemented in agriculture, water, energy, forestry, construction, industries and transport sectors. Wide range of activities in relation to natural resources management have been carried out through watershed management, afforestation and reforestation, energy generation and access, and low-carbon transport systems.

Along with these interventions, there are engagements with another public sector entity focused on the environment designated special purpose facility that will channel its climate investments into the country. There are also partnerships with regional and international organizations that would help build capacity to access climate finance.

Dr. Yitebitu Mogess is the National REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation) Program Director under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. As to him, in Ethiopia 50 percent of carbon emission comes from deforestation while 40 percent from agriculture.

The main source of green house gas emission related to crop production include conversion of forest and enlarging farm lands for cultivation, the use of chemical fertilizers and the application of in appropriate farm management related to land preparation that expose land to release CO2. The livestock sector also contributes to the formation of CV4 from enteric fermentation and the release of both CH4 and N2O from inappropriate manure management practice.

In the country, there is still high deforestation rate which contribute to emission. Almost 85 percent of the population is living in rural areas and dependent on subsistence farming. The need for additional farmland, construction of houses and house hold energy forces people to deforestation and this led to land degradation due to soil erosion and depleted natural resources.

In preventing soil erosion from overgrazing, enclosure system is applied in selected areas of Tigray , Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nation and Nationalities states. The efforts of this endeavor have come out with better results including replenishing of underground water and rehabilitation of natural resources have been realized.

In rural part of the country, people utilize biomass for cooking and other purposes. The uneconomical usage of energy by open cooking system accelerates the rate of forest clearance. Charcoal making is also further aggravating the situation.

To curb the situation, the government in collaboration with partners has disseminated hundreds of thousands of energy saving stoves across the country.

On the other hand, to mitigate the GHG from crop production utilizing improved agronomic practice that increase soil carbon storage and nutrient management leading to more efficient use of nitrogen, soil and water management system such as terracing and water harvest technique is vital.

With regard to mitigating the livestock emission, downsizing the number of cattle population and rearing with permanent place with sufficient water and forage has been taken as a way out. In addition, reducing unproductive local cattle species and using the hybrid ones and supporting cattle rearing practice with medical facilities is essential.

To reduce emission from industries like cement plant, replacing coal with the utilizing of renewable energy source such as hydro power is taken as direction.

Similarly, in transport sector stretching electric powered rail transport is expanded.

According to the Ethiopian Academy of Science, there are key drivers of vulnerability to climate change in Ethiopia that are determined by phenomena that encompass global, regional and local conditions. The global determinants are associated with El Nino and La Nino events both of which are related to shifts of warm tropical pacific air currents occurring in the Pacific Ocean.

These events lead to extreme weather events such as drought and floods. The other component of climatic drivers arises from regional events that result in the movement of equatorial law pressure zones across the country.

So, it is quite clear that the efforts made by the country to sustain green growth development is challenged by external factors which threatening the mitigation ability. Therefore, the country needs to intensify efforts for the effective realization of the Climate Resilient Green Economy. Since, the issue of climate change is a pressing concern of many actors, partnership and collective engagement is fundamental.

In a situation where the activities in other parts of the world affect the other side, consultations and addressing the issue of climate change through concerted efforts undoubtedly decrease the devastating burden of climate change and global warming in many countries especially in developing ones.

BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS

Published in Development

In Ethiopia and other developing countries agriculture is the main stay of the economy and has numerous benefits derived from the sector. Crop production helps to feed the growing population, supply raw material for the manufacturing sector and it is a means of foreign currency earning. Similarly, the livestock sector contributes to significant amount to GDP. However, due to traditional way of production and market system, less input utilization, the vulnerability to drought, pest and herbs the sectoral contribution to the national economy is not as its potential. Worse to these, the current climate change and global warming poses devastating effect and further weakening the struggle to reduce poverty and ensure food security.

The growing food price in the world market again further impoverished people in the countries highly dependent on agriculture. To improve the productivity of both the crop and the livestock sectors countries long ago employed the conventional research methods in educational and research institutions. Some better results have been scored despite the complex nature of the sector's problem. In many countries efforts underway to produce hybrid crops which have a capacity to resist drought and pest.

Producing high yield per hectare is very important to feed the ever growing population of developing countries. In this regard, the role and contribution of scientific research is indispensable. Similarly, the provision of hybrid animal specious and medical facilities to effectively harness the animal resource is also essential.

The launch of agricultural research history goes back to 50 years with the establishment of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institution. Since then higher learning institutions have been established and many students graduated from these institutions. Graduates from these institutions and others who got chance to continue pursued their education abroad are serving the nation through contributing their share to transform the agriculture sector.

Currently, there are 17 agricultural research institutions in the country which are shouldering responsibility to boost productivity in both crop and animal productions based on their relevant researches and community service programs.

Vividly, the government has outlined that the development of agriculture sector is as a tool for industrial progress. To unleash its potential, the government has singled out agricultural research as key element for transformation the sector.

BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS

In fact, modernizing the sector is not an easy task and needs huge investment. For the last decade the annual government budget allocation to the agricultural research is growing. The support of donors and multilateral organizations also plays crucial role in introducing new farming techniques and technologies which enabled to boost productivity. It is understood that for the last decade and a half the country has been scoring double digit economic growth. The contribution of agriculture for the achievement is immense. According to the senior agricultural adviser of USAID Dr. Demis Chanyalew, for the agricultural growth, the increment of farm land and enhancement farm productivity through the utilization of inputs contribute 40 and 60 percent respectively.

It would be easy to guess from this figure that the adaptation of technologies played vital role in raising productivity. Currently, due to population growth the size of the small scale farmers shrinking from time to time and increasing the farm size at the expense of clearing forests and vegetation cover further degraded land and natural resources.

Hence, many agree that enhancing productivity with small scale farm through the utilization of modern inputs has been taken as a way out. According to studies, as compared to other sub Saharan African countries the utilization of inputs per hectare here in Ethiopia is insignificant and needs more attention.

On the other hand, to overcome the recurrent drought, water scarce and to raise productivity in addition to conventional hybrid crops utilizing of biotechnology has been encouraged to cultivate drought resistant plants.

Well, many argue that the utilization of biotechnology for crop production must not compromise the bio diversity of the nation. The application of the technology goes in line with the nation bio safety law which was prepared with the consultation of relevant scientists and conformity with the international convention on biosafety.

The law was ratified by the House of Peoples Representatives in 2001 EC. Later it is relaxed by proclamation number 896/ 2007 by the House justifying the previous one has limited the scope of scientific research.

According to the proclamation, any company or institution which is interested to carry out research on biotechnology is required to get license from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Ethiopia is one of the biodiversity reach country in the world. It has huge potential which could play pivotal role in boosting sectoral capacity of agriculture, tourism , medicine and other industries in particular and the overall economy in general. The application of bio tech and transgenic plants need cautiously work and the current practice is attesting this reality. Anyways, the smart applications and expansion of biotechnology would help the country to boost productivity and preserve and protect the rich biodiversity that would be marketable in a way to contribute remarkably to the overall development of the country.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

Every fellow citizen or foreigner who have been living abroad for a certain period of time for various business and personal reasons, returning home, they would definitely be stunned by the ongoing construction boom in the country. This is due to the fastest urbanization that is taking place in all cities in the country in general and in Addis Ababa in particular.

Yes, a number of high rise buildings have been built in Addis and in other cities of Ethiopia as well. No one denies the fact that Ethiopia is in the midst of fastest and largest urban growth. It as well has been working towards becoming a hub of light manufacturing industry in Africa. But, lack of quality-driven monitoring mechanism that guides urban architectural design has been one of the biggest concerns for responsible people in business architecture and other pertinent bodies.

If an architect and a construction engineer do not work hand in glove, the newly built storeys, housing complexes and the like will for sure lack quality and safety. Moreover, the urban fabric of a given city could pose a big mess for the residents and the architects in the future. Because most of privately owned high- rise buildings have been constructed without bearing in mind the history, culture and environment of the country. Some of the buildings in Addis are carbon copies of buildings in Dubai or Beijing. This is because the businesspersons get often upper hand in deciding the building design.

Indeed, architecture is the mother of all engineering and construction works. The roles of architecture in telling and presenting history in a vivid manner are immense. That is why historians, anthropologists and others are seen admiring and making studies on the architectural features of buildings and other facilities. From the people of early civilizations up to the current modern ones, one method of deciphering and understanding the lifestyle of past generation is architecture as it has something to do with modernity. Of course, the proper use of space, time and resource are the necessarily indicative of modernity. Hence, quality-driven architectural designs mainly deal with such factors and beyond.

An Ethiopian architect must shape cities future taking into account his/her history and culture. Above all, he/she must not compromise quality and safety of a building with personal gains or something else.

It is very encouraging to hear that hundreds of architects graduate every year from private and state universities. Almost all state universities offer architecture and building courses, plus there is a well established Association of Ethiopian Architects. For sure, the architects and their association have a big responsibility in maintaining quality and safety of a building. Skill gaps of fresh architecture graduates could be narrowed down through giving hands on training and creating more work opportunities in the country.

Moreover, there must be a legally established institution that gives certification for architects and monitor their architectural activities as well.

In fact, in 2009, the government had issued Ethiopian Building Proclamation in a bid to determine the minimum national standard for the construction or modification of buildings or alteration of their use in order to ensure public health and safety.

It is true that the government is committed towards creating best and environmental friendly cities that go along with the ongoing industrialization move.

In general Ethiopian architects need to exert relentless efforts in integrating modern urban fabric to the country’s socio-economic aspects. By the same token, the government must play its due part in developing sustainable urban plans that have the full consent of the architects and the public at large. Those architects, who have witnessed outstanding performance with a view to inspiring the new ones, need to be encouraged in a sustainable manner.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

 

For those who have been away from Addis, for some years, upon returning home, they will be surprised witnessing the fast urbanization and a number of new high rise buildings in the metropolis ,the same also holds truth for the city's dwellers. But for architects and urban planners, what matters most is the livability and resilience beyond the physical change and the expansion of the capital.

Dawit Banti, who has over 20 years of teaching experience in architecture here and abroad, is currently teaching building construction and urban designing at Addis Ababa University of Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EIABC).

For him, from late 1960s until 2003, Addis was sleepy. “ All of a sudden in 2003, the city began to experience construction boom . We and the public sector were not ready for the boom. There were not enough local contractors apart from lack of quality and control measures.”

In such breakneck construction speed , it is obvious that quality will be compromised in a bid to meet the pent -up demand of housing in Addis. “ So you might say we are trying to change the tyres of car while we are driving it , if you think of quality now , What we have been doing so far is that appreciating what we have and also take risks of something,” he says, adding that :“ We are 100 million plus people, the largest landlocked country in the world in-terms of population, If you want to satisfy the housing demand of the people , there are no other options than maintaining the boom .”

Nevertheless , what needs to be done to keep up the boom in parallel with the activities that enhance the livability and resilience of the city?

Dawit says livability is all about social formulation. “ We have to work for social cohesion . We have to really be worried for suburbanization and gated communities. We have to come up with idea of mixing social status via filling up social and income divides.”

The population of Addis Ababa is estimated over four million and its annual population growth rate is now four percent. This means every year 160,000 people emigrant from various states of the country to the capital city.

As a matter of fact these huge number of migrants are currently working in all construction sites of the city . Have we ever asked ourselves where do these migrants live or get affordable housing ? Most of them live in makeshift houses at river basins and nearby mountains in the city.

He urges that the city’s administration and pertinent bodies to come up with inclusive approach to integrate the migrants. “We have to bear in mind that the rivers and the mountains of city are already burdened by migrants.”

According to Dawit, apart from trying to stop migrants from its source developing the secondary cities and towns is a must. “Urbanization is the catalyst for growth . You have to urbanize, if you want to grow the economy .But , is the infrastructure ready to accommodate hundred thousands of people coming every year into city ? ”

Livability also has something to do with open spaces and green areas. The city needs to have numerous open spaces and green areas like the park between Hilton Hotel and Foreign Affairs Ministry building, he adds.

Nowadays , Addis Ababa seems to be planned for automobiles only . This is because there are not enough sidewalks and cycling lanes in the city.

“ Foreseeable future ,our urban planners are now thinking of reserving spaces for the public transport line like railway, likewise are we giving spaces for cyclists ? We are just beginning to construct our city. Planning city for vehicles in the 20th century is failure,” Dawit reiterates.

He also indicates that building houses at peripheries of the city and putting massive public infrastructure to bring back people to the center is a loss.

Addis needs to be future proof in a bid not to worry about the technology of the future. “ What are cars going to be in the future , all will be electrified, we need to clean our rivers.”

Speaking of resilience, he says it has to do with observation of shocks and stresses . “ if a pandemic breaks out in Addis Ababa, it will really attack us quickly as what happened West Africa during Ebola outbreak in 2014, so are we ready for this kind of pandemic? , do we have enough sanitation and water supply in Addis ? This is because we are going to face stress and shocks due to globalization, climate change and the like.

The needs for good planning and appropriate architecture outside Addis are just as big. If projections of population growth come true, Ethiopia may need 20 new cities of 5m people each by 2050.

“Of course ,we will worry about quality in the near future. Quality is not something you bring it quickly, look at the building around me , some of them are shabby. I am really worried about them, ” Dawit says, adding that : “I am really hopeful that the recent unfortunate events of the loss of lives and collapse of building under construction will be a weak up call for us to slow down a bit.”

BY DANIEL BEYENE

Published in National-News

As the nation’s thirty-five universities produce over 100, 000 graduates per year, there have been dilemmas over the quality and competence of the graduates while joining the career industry.

Greater emphasis has been placed on expansion of universities over the past two decades to significantly increase the number of skilled professionals that would help the nation attain its ambitious economic transformation.

Ministry of Education forces universities to give much emphasis for practical learning to create quality and competent professionals that smoothly fit into the workforce. But, does the trend really help the nation ripe a sit sow into universities? Or are the graduates from public universities lack the quality and competence?

Professor Chemeda Fenninsa, Haromaya University President assumed a large quantity of graduates produced at the expense of successful expansion of universities nationwide might have given a rise to a point of blurred argument over the quality and competence of graduates nationally.

Taking this to his university, he said, since the number of graduates has unprecedentedly gone up, reaching over 8,000 per year by now, the quantity put far more pressure on the university than before to endeavor earnestly and persistently for the quality and competence of the graduates.

Hence, Haromaya University has long been worrying about addressing the pressure through various means so that the university should maintain its reputation while contributing proficient citizens to the nation, he remarked.

The first means as to the professor is improving inputs. The key input is the teacher.

“We upgrade the level and professional competence of teachers for they are the major and fundamental actors for the creation of quality and proficient graduates.”

The university continuously provides teachers with pedagogical trainings to enhance their teaching skills.

A similar enterprise at Wolkite University fortifies the professor’s idea. Dr. Tiglu Geza Academic Affairs Director of Wolkite University holds: “If you have a highly qualified teaching staff, you will produce highly qualified and competent graduates as well.”

So, to build such a staff, his university carefully recruited well-experienced, high caliber teachers. Then it has upgraded the levels of some teachers sending to the local and overseas universities for post graduate programs, according to the director.

As in Haromaya, teachers in Wolkite and Arba Minch take trainings that advance their teaching methodologies and help students through more favorable and efficient approaches.

The two universities maintain that the existence of well-furnished and adequate number of laboratories in their universities plus the degree of focus they placed on practical learning has a significant contribution on the quality and competence of the students.

Wolkite University President Professor Dereje Ayele states that his university has now built a full lab capacity with adequate assistants devoted to offering the much needed decisive practical learning.

“Therefore, the practical learning required for each discipline is going on uninterruptedly that our students get the quality education that enables them to quickly and competently join the employment industry,” Professor.

Dereje asserts, In fact this was not a reality for Wolkite during the first years of the university. The university did not have more laboratories at the beginning that students had to travel to other universities for the practical sessions.

“This was a waste of time. Travelling to other places distorted students’ attention while frequently travelling was too costly, thereby leaving students with inadequate experience,” Prof. Dereje recollects.

It is then plain from the President’s regret that the earliest graduates of Wolkite or the newer universities underwent the same deficiency that could have affected their competitiveness.

An extra trend of enhancing graduates ‘quality and proficiency at Arba Minch University builds on the previous remarks. “Practical learning is a priority agenda of the university in GTP II. In accord, the university has well organized and fully equipped labs, workshops and IT centers so that students exercise, experiment and attest classroom theories,” university’s president Dr. Damtew Derza explains.

The university however should work to equate the number of these centers with the constantly growing number of students, Dr. Damtew indicated.

Prof. Chemede for his part claims that the health and agriculture professionals, engineers, as well as natural science graduates from his universities pass through successful practical learning for the university is equipped with laboratories and pilot projects.

Besides, his university intensively undertakes several tasks to let students gain the necessary skills they would apply later in their career life including internship apprenticeship programs. But the case of Wolkitie needs improvement, as Prof. Dereje points out.

Dr. Tiglu further attributes graduates’ competence with the high-value graduation projects. Because such final projects demand each candidate’s deeper understanding, skill, patience, determination, analytical thinking, communication and problem- solving abilities. It also requires candidates to apply what they acquired during the preceding years as well as adding new in the investigative process.

“This would enable the graduates to adequately fit the work environment and effectively cope up with the challenges of career environment to the extent of undertaking problem-solving researches,” he adds.

Although the leaders of the universities argue that they do jobs with major emphasis on tasks they think would boost up the quality and proficiency of their graduates, yet they witness their graduates do not get the proper internship exposure within industries.

It can then be paradoxically deduced from this that the practical learnings in laboratories and with pilot projects are not further reinforced through apprenticeship and internship schemes in a real world environment- within industries. The reduced university-industry cooperation and communication can also be deemed as hindrance for graduates to undertake their final projects operating with industries at their highest capacity.

Both Prof. Chemeda and Dr.Tiglu reason out that the number of industries in their areas is not sufficient and the level of university-industry linkage is low nationally. To its worse, there is a much reduced level of readiness on the side of the existing industries. The same holds true for Arba Minch.

Despite low status of university-industry linkage and imbalance between larger increase of student enrollment and number of practical learning facilities, the four of the leaders uphold that the graduates possess the quality and competence that fit the standards of market requirements.

Haromaya University president expresses confidence in that there has never been any compliant or tip off from private and government institutions indicating our graduates are not rendering quality service with efficiency. “Even the glittering reality is that our students perform well as the feedback we receive from institutions to which we send students for internship shows.”

 

BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT

 

Published in National-News

Ministry of Foreign Affair and Government Communication Affairs Office jointly briefed yesterday ambassadors and diplomatic missions based in the capital on why the government lifted up the State of Emergency (SoE) as of August 4, 2017.

On the occasion where ambassadors and diplomatic mission attended Foreign Affairs State Minister Hirut Zemene said she was thankful for the close and active engagement of the diplomatic community during the bilateral and regional consultative forums her ministry has had regarding the issue.

She also pointed out that Ethiopia has achieved fast economic growth which also acclaimed by international standards.

While briefing the diplomats Government Communication Affairs Minister Dr. Negeri Lencho mentioned that chapters that played against law and order have been contained. “We have also concluded that the situation has been reversed that now the local administrative and security mechanism can take over.”

Dr. Negeri further stated that following the lifting up of the decree, the peaceful day to day undertaking of the people has come back. Travel bans on diplomats were lifted, and over 21,000 youth detainees were released.

The minister was grateful for the patience the diplomatic community has shown and appreciated their confidence on Ethiopia’s capability of managing the situation.

BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT

 

Published in Editorial-View-Point

Ethiopia makes non-concessional borrowing only to finance large-scale and fast-track infrastructure developments aimed at boosting export and industrialization, according to Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian herald Minister Dr. Abraham Tekeste stressed that the government invests the external loans solely on growth-enhancing transport, energy, and the like infrastructure projects taken over only by government development enterprises.

“Unlike some nations that borrow and spend it for consumption, we use all such loans only for development and supply of road, railway, energy, industrial infrastructure and others which assist industrialization and export efforts,” the minister noted; indicating that such loans are not meant to finance the general government budget.

The minister said ongoing projects on road, railway, telecom and energy infrastructure have secured finance and would be carried out in this fiscal year. This is so because non-concessional loans are project finances that the enterprises borrow to finance individual projects.

The trend enables to boom the economy, heighten its competitiveness, expand industrialization, and ultimately increase export volume. “Therefore, the external borrowing creates further potential to finance investments that would enable the nation to repay the loans,” the minister underscored.

In addition, to the repaying potential the investment by commercial loan creates, the government learnt that it should be cautious while considering foreign loans because in the past few years the nations export has not progressed as expected.

“Besides, we are working hard to expand the export volume. However, as all predictions show, Ethiopia’s economy will continue to grow fast for the next three years,” Dr. Abraham reaffirmed, implying that the nation has a potential for extra borrowings.

Though there are adequate indications that the nation’s export volume would significantly increase this fiscal year which started a month ago, the nation has been paying foreign debt through services and remittances.

Because of these essentials and related parameters the nation’s external debt is low and sustainable, he said.

Asked about this fiscal year’s budget deficit, the minister suggested that it would be financed through concessional loans. So, it does not cause burden on the government.

“The borrowing we take to fund the fiscal year’s budget deficit is concessional borrowing that has the least burden because it is payable in long term, interest free or has little interest,” he noted. It is these loans and grants, not the commercial loans, in the proper government budget that can also be used to finance imports.

BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT

Published in National-News

For all chain of actors in the tourism industry, the ethical service provision should be a noble task of branding the country’s image not merely a revenue making, actors in the industry noted.

Accordingly, Culture and Tourism Ministry Public and International Relations Director Gezahegn Abate said provision of ethical services is not only targeting one’s own business rather an expression of branding the touristic service to tourists.

Unethical services may come from lack of knowledge and attitude of service providers, he said and adding efforts underway to provide ethical courses through Tourism and Catering Training Institute.

Besides, some 12 universities are training students in first and others in second degree programs and ethics is an integral part of the training.

In this regard, he said the ministry is working closely with associations of tour operators and hoteliers. More importantly, the issue of ethical service provision is a serious concern at the joint forum of stakeholders, he noted.

The director said knowing properly the country’s heritages and explaining with genuine fact and figures is, also a part of ethical service, very important.

He urged hoteliers, tour operators and guides, transports providers, souvenirs shop owners, training institutions and other service providers should train their employees.

Instructor from Lion Ethiopia Tourism and Hotel College Dr. Ayalew Sisay for his part said the wearing style and the conduct of employees as well as the reception of different service providers would matter most.

He said the unfair treatment by various service providers among domestic and foreign tourists needs to be improved. Any misconduct for tourists would disfigure the auspicious efforts being made to attract tourists in to the country.

Ethical service should be a real concern and a shared responsibility of all actors, he said, added training institutions are potential actors to reach out many actors in this regard.

He said the respective service providers should train their employees need to serve customers using as many languages as possible so that they can satisfy their customers.

For the Ethiopian Tourism and Catering Training Institute, Ethics is an integral part of the training said Public Relations head Dr. Kibrework Lemma.

She said the institute has attached due attention for ethical issues. It offers courses on regular and on job training programs for various customers.

According to Dr. Kibrework, the institute has recently conducted study and only 23 percent of the employees are trained. It would be easy to guess to what extent impacting the efficient and ethical service delivery in the sector.

She said the institute is exerting effort to upgrade itself to university college level and would further intensify effort in collaboration with stakeholders to address issues related ethical service. “Ethical issues are not left for a certain organization but it is a shared responsibility of all.”

BY HAILEGEBRIEL BINIYAM

Published in National-News

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