Ethiopian public health meeting about conflict health issues excludes Tigray

The Ethiopian Public Health Association meeting was supposedly about the public health problems brought about by conflict but was in reality an propaganda event closely monitored by Ethiopian authorities who made sure no substantial discussion about Tigray was made or that any representatives from Tigray attended.

This week the Ethiopian Public Health Association held its annual convention in Addis Ababa with the theme title “Conflict, Public Health and Health Systems Resilience”. In the introductory remarks it was noted that the national armed conflict is a major health problem. Additionally “alarm at the combatant’s destruction of health facilities was expressed in Amhara, Afar, and lastly Tigray as well as gender based sexual violence”. However, that was the only mention of Tigray. Live internet connections were done with universities in Ethiopia but not a single one to Tigray. No member from Tigray health services or university who used to normally contribute was invited or even allowed to attend despite a joint publication of Mekelle University and the Medical University of South Carolina published in the prestigious journal Lancet.

A person who attended but wishes to remain anonymous informed me that specific instructions were given by the leadership of the conference to avoid discussion of Tigray and insure no one from Tigray attended the meeting. Undercover security persons monitored the meeting.  One the goals of the meeting was to project the “victimhood” of Amhara and Afar rather then to have real discussions on findings and developing strategy.