Tigray is Ethiopia’s northernmost region, bordered by Eritrea to the North, Sudan to the West and the Amhara region to the south. Mekelle is its capital city and Tigrinya is the spoken language. The total population is estimated to be six million people. More than 70% of Tigrayans live in rural areas with the remaining people living in urban and peri-urban areas. Orthodox Christianity is the main religion in the region. Tigrayan communities are mainly agrarian, with residents making a living from small-scale subsistence farming including the cultivation of grain crops (e.g. maize, lentils, barley and wheat) and rearing of cattle, sheep, horses and donkeys.
CL is highly prevalent in Amhara, Tigray and South Nations Nationalities Peoples Regional State regions of the country. The actual CL burden, however, is not know as disease reporting for CL (unlike visceral leishmaniasis) is not mandatory in Ethiopia. We have established ECLIPSE hubs in six tabias (villages) across Eastern, Southern and South Eastern zones of Tigray. Since November 2020, there has been a deadly conflict in the Tigray region which has, in autumn of 2021, escalated to other parts of Ethiopia. For security reasons, we interrupted our fieldwork until the fighting subsided and it was safe for ECLIPSE researchers to return to the study sites.