New and important publication from the Arba Minch group

Mulchandani R, Massebo F,Bocho F, Jeffries CL, Walker T, Messenger LA. A community-level investigation following a yellow fever virus outbreak in South Omo Zone, South-West Ethiopia. PeerJ. 2019;7. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6466.


Despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine, yellow fever virus (YFV) remains an important public health problem across Africa and South America due to its high case-fatality rate. This study investigated the historical epidemiology and contemporary entomological and social determinants of a YFV outbreak in South Omo Zone (SOZ), Ethiopia.


A YFV outbreak occurred in SOZ, Ethiopia in 2012–2014. Historical epidemiological data were retrieved from the SOZ Health Department and analyzed. Entomological sampling was undertaken in 2017, including mosquito species identification and molecular screening for arboviruses to understand mosquito habitat distribution, and finally current knowledge, attitudes and preventative practices within the affected communities were assessed.


From October 2012 to March 2014, 165 suspected cases and 62 deaths were reported, principally in rural areas of South Ari region (83.6%). The majority of patients were 15–44 years old (75.8%) and most case deaths were males (76%). Between June and August 2017, 688 containers were sampled across 180 households to identify key breeding sites for Aedesmosquitoes. Ensete ventricosum(“false banana”) and clay pots outside the home were the most productive natural and artificial breeding sites, respectively. Entomological risk indices classified most sites as “high risk” for future outbreaks under current World Health Organization criteria. Adult mosquitoes in houses were identified as members of the Aedes simpsonicomplex but no YFV or other arboviruses were detected by PCR. The majority of community members had heard of YFV, however few activities were undertaken to actively reduce mosquito breeding sites.


Study results highlight the potential role vector control could play in mitigating local disease transmission and emphasize the urgent need to strengthen disease surveillance systems and in-country laboratory capacity to facilitate more rapid responses to future YFV outbreaks.


Successful midway evaluations for 7 PhD students

On Thursday April 25, seven PhD students admitted to the joint PhD degree programme between the Hawassa University and the University of Bergen, had their mid-way evaluations. Evaluators were senior staff from both Hawassa University and the University of Bergen.

The midway evaluation has the following goals:

  • to find the status regarding the progress and development of the individual PhD project
  • to give the candidate the possibility to present the whole project for a committee

The following students presented their projects:

Alemselam Zebdewos: Preventing iron deficiency anaemia: Evaluation of amaranth grain supplementation to 2-5 years old children in southern Ethiopia, a randomized controlled trial

Samrawit Hailu: Childhood illness and health service utilization in Wonago District, South Ethiopia. A community –based cohort study

Sewhareg Belay: Intimate Partner violence during pregnancy: Prevalence, health effect and knowledge about it in Sidama zone, Southern Ethiopia

Hiwot Hailu: Assessment of school health problems in Gedeo Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Bereket Yohannes: Assessing validity of the ‘Household Food Insecurity Access Scale’, and seasonality in food insecurity and undernutrition in rural Southwest Ethiopia

Mehretu Belayneh: Magnitude, seasonality and spatial distribution of under-nutrition among children aged 6-59 months, Boricha, Southern Ethiopia

Moges Tadesse: Maternal and Neonatal illnesses, its economic burden, and health service utilisation in rural Ethiopia: A community-based prospective cohort study

PhD student poster presentations

On December 13, all students at the PhD training programme presented their preliminary research results or their research plans. The 1.5 hour poster session took part at an international malaria scientific conference in Hawassa: International Research Seminar on Malaria Control held at Hawassa 

Again, on December 18, the Joint PhD programme between Hawassa University and the University of Bergen was presented at a seminar in Bergen: Hawassa- UiB Joint PhD program thriving

Recent publications

Publications by students attached to the SENUPH programme:

Arba Minch University

Abraham M, Massebo F, Lindtjørn B: High entomological inoculation rate of malaria vectors in area of high coverage of interventions in southwest Ethiopia: Implication for residual malaria transmission. Parasite Epidemiology and Control 2017, 2:61-69.

Wolaita Sodo University

Tadesse Tantu A, Demissie Gamebo T, Kuma Sheno B, Yohannis Kabalo M: Household food insecurity and associated factors among households in Wolaita Sodo town, 2015. Agriculture & Food Security 2017, 6:19.

Shone M, Demissie T, Yohannes B, Yohannis M: Household food insecurity and associated factors in West Abaya district, Southern Ethiopia, 2015. Agriculture & Food Security 2017, 6:2.

Lenja A, Demissie T, Yohannes B, Yohannis M: Determinants of exclusive breastfeeding practice to infants aged less than six months in Offa district, Southern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study. Int Breastfeed J 2016, 11:32.

SENUPH project recruiting seven PhD students

One of the aims of the SENUPH project is to support staff capacity building. Thus, we invite staff from the universities in Hawassa, Dilla and Wolaita-Sodo to apply to join the PhD training. We plan to admit seven PhD students starting their studies in September 2016.

Interested staff are invited to present:

  1. A one-page concept note on their research aims
  2. Documentation that they have completed a masters degree
  3. A one-page CV

This information should be sent by June 15 to mailto:eskindir_loha@yahoo.comDr Eskindir Loha at Hawassa University.

An information meeting about this opportunity was held at Hawassa University on April 20.