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The first known pandemic in Ethiopia occurred in 849, following the exile of Abba Yohannes, the Ethiopian church’s leader, from the country. The pestilence and famine that followed were seen to be God’s punishment for Yohannes’ wrongdoings. Great troubles have come upon our nation, and all of our soldiers are dying of the plague, and all of our beasts and calves have perished, the Ethiopian monarch said in a worried letter to Abba Yohannes. Although it is impossible to determine when medicine began in Ethiopia, the evolution of healing methods does follow the route of sickness. Herbs, spiritual healing, bone-setting, and minor surgical procedures are commonly used by traditional medical practitioners to treat sickness. Ethiopian traditional medicine is extremely complicated and varied, with significant differences amongst ethnic groupings. In Ethiopia, most traditional medical methods utilize a holistic approach to treatment and rely on a disease explanation that includes both “mystical” and “natural” causes of illness. Menelik’s tenure (1865-1913) saw a substantial increase in the incorporation of Western medicine into Ethiopia’s medical system. Many foreign medical envoys, beginning with the Italians and Russians, were crucial in the construction of hospitals, medical training, and vaccination efforts. The majority of medical establishments, on the other hand, were situated in major cities and predominantly served the urban elite and foreign missionaries. Despite the fact that Western medicine is becoming more widely used in Ethiopia, Ethiopians still prefer traditional medicine. Traditional medical services are concentrated in metropolitan regions and have failed to keep up with population growth, leaving health care out of reach for the majority of Ethiopians living in the country.

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