Special Research Council to conduct COVID-19 related research

In order to complement the ongoing global efforts to study and understand the catastrophic implications of COVID-19, Arba Minch University acting on the directive of Ministry of Science and Higher Education has constituted a Research Council that will soon launch specific research projects to study broader aspects that were left totally upended in the wake of Corona virus outbreak in recent times.

University President, Dr Damtew Darza, said, the newly established Research Council will conduct quick researches that are expected to bring solution for community facing hardships due to Corona outbreak. Here social and natural science aspects will be emphasized and efforts will be made to explore available knowledge on indigenous medicine and those having such wisdom will also be involved. And most importantly, we will ensure that the areas we are focusing shouldn’t get replicated by other universities.

Furthermore, we will assess the degree of awareness existing in the society; whether people are satisfied with the way Corona Task Force is disseminating information and the strategy applied by governmental bodies in distributing aids and Public Protective Equipments is serving the purpose or it needs to be revisited; we will compile such data, analyze it and submit to the ministry for future course of action.

Research and Community Service Vice President, Dr Simon Shibru, Chairman of Research Council, said, at federal level Ethiopia has formed COVID-19 Study and Research Special Council that further has been cascaded down to all universities enjoining them to launch specific researches to conduct studies and understand the vicious impact of this pandemic and come up with potential breakthrough.

As per Ministry’s directive, Dr Damtew Darza, has constituted the Research Council which has Dr Simon Shibru as its Chairman, College of Natural & Computational Science Dean, Dr Fekadu Massebo, is made Secretary. All college Deans, Scientific Directors, 3 senior researchers, Executive Research Directorate Director, Community Service Directorate Director, University-Industry Linkage and Technology Transfer Directorate Director, research coordinators and department heads of Biology, Chemistry, School of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy, Environmental Health are its members.

He states that the next course of action is to have common understanding as to what we are going to do for it would be rapid and time-bound research, yet it will have room for consideration provided the proposal is potential. The call in this regard has been issued that will end by May 10, 2020, and there is no limit for proposals, he opined.

Revealing blueprint for this special research, he said, it’s intended to assess quality of sanitizer, side effects of outbreak, knowledge, attitude and perception of community, improving the public health preparedness, patient management efficiency, societal response to current problem and evaluating state of emergency & level of implementation.

The researchers will investigate psychological, behavioral and inter-personal implications, inventing innovative technology, production of ingredients required for sanitizer and quality test, impact and role of mass media, its socio-economic, political and other health-related implications, preparedness of AMU, governmental agencies, quest for indigenous knowledge to tackle this virus, etc. yet he, said, it’s open for intellectuals who can come up with highly innovative ideas and unique findings.

At this juncture, after receiving proposals, forthwith review will start and having finalized proposals, grants will be assigned. Thereafter, findings will be submitted to the ministry; despite this, he adds that AMU has been reporting to the Ministry about its ongoing philanthropic activities on weekly basis.

Expressing his skepticism, Dr Simon, said this pandemic may affect our normal research activities for, in this scenario, we may encounter challenges, yet our moral is high and researchers, I hope, will certainly put in their best. Nevertheless, I appreciate Ethiopian government to engage scientific community in this timely and much-needed research that shows great sense of responsibility on our part towards this unprecedented health hazard that has unambiguously proved all scientific achievements inadequate.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)