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Under the microscope: The Gambela

This month: The Gambela

What is the Gambela?

It is a regional state in western Ethiopia, bordering South Sudan. Previously known as “Region 12”, its capital is Gambela. The region is situated between the Baro and Akobo Rivers and includes the Gambela National Park, which covers 5061 km2.

Has it been in the news?

Yes, it has been identified as a hotspot for cases of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, prompting researchers to call for targeted health support, rather than a national response.

Tell me more.

It has been published in BMJ Global Health and lead author Dr Kefyalew Alene, from the Curtin School of Population Health, said it was concerning to find one region reporting large numbers of all three diseases.

Why the Gambela?

The study found that the region was characterised by low healthcare access, low socioeconomic index, and high temperatures and rainfall. The authors believe that high prevalence of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in this region may be due to inadequate case management and weaker health systems along the border.

So what should be done?

The study suggests the need for more targeted health services to deal with the spate of cases concentrated in one part of Africa. The findings suggest targeting health services at a local level would be more effective than a nationwide service response.

What will happen now?

Dr Alene said: “These findings can guide policymakers in Ethiopia to design geographically targeted and integrated disease control programmes to achieve maximum impact in addressing the high prevalence of cases.”

Where can I read more?


Image credit | Shutterstock

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