Special Commandos in Mekelle This public health ‘security communities’ can also easily sustain orderly life within them, such as by way of planned allocation of market areas and places of worship on shifts. For example, within the urban areas of these communities people can be asked to do their shopping from specifically designated shopping areas in their neighborhood. As an example, people from my own birthplace, Afencho Ber, can be asked to shop from Shiro Meda instead of traveling to Merkato. If there are fewer marketplaces in these communities, residents can be assigned to different dates when they can do their shopping. These public health security communities can also establish local neighborhood shops of their own to supply basic and frequently consumed items. To ensure success, a system of compliance can be achieved through a combination of price-based incentives or simple ration card based restrictions.
The principles of ‘segregation’ based on space and time can also be extended to places of worship. Leaders of churches, mosques and other places of worship within these public health communities can designate and announce which places of worship people should go to for their spiritual need. And in such places, the feasibility of age-based shifts can also be explored.
For example, elderly people can have separate schedules than for the young or they can be advised to follow the proceedings from the comfort of their home, as it is happening now. If the country prepares itself to open schools, the notion of shifts can also be extended to schools to reduce class sizes or manage recess times. The core idea is to create residential ‘segregation’, by space and time, along with a strong reporting system of visitors coming beyond the communities.
By so doing, the country can effectively create a ‘homogeneous’ risk group or cluster of communities that can be monitored, and when needed, internally quarantined to stop cross infection in places of common service. In the current setting, this appears to favor a governance structure revolving around zonal administrations to manage the current COVID-19 crisis. Beyond COVID-19, the process may eventually lead to a strengthened and empowered decentralization process in the country. It will also encourage people to focus on local realities and addresses the interests of the common (wo)man: to live life and live it with full happiness.
In the very long-term, this may bring the feasibility of existing political structure of the regional states system to question and encourage needed debate on the importance of considering such aspects as health and livelihood in the creation of a better governance structure for Ethiopia, beyond the cultural paradigm that has dominated the space for quite sometime.