Equipment and solidarity for Africa

Nearly 17 000 confirmed cases and around 900 deaths across the continent. This is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa until now. South Africa has sub-Saharan Africa’s most severe outbreak. On the other hand, West and Central Africa are of growing concern. 11 out of 17 African countries with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 are in the region.

Cameroon has confirmed more than 800 cases, while Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea have reported a rapid rise in numbers during the past week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We are working with the governments to better understand what is happening, but this is worrisome as countries in these subregions often have particularly fragile health systems”, said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

In the past two days, eight countries have received medical equipment, enough to allow health workers to treat 30 000 patients without putting themselves at risk.

The cargo contains face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, medical aprons and thermometers, as well as more than 400 ventilators.

This equipment has been sent by WHO and its partners, the like World Food Programme (WFP), African Union (AU), national governments and the Jack Ma Foundation.

However, ensuring countries receive deliveries of medical equipment has become increasingly difficult. Among other problems, several borders closed and flights canceled. To this end, WHO has requested the sending of solidarity flights.

“These cargo flights demonstrate the power of international co-operation and collective action”, ends Moeti.

+ The lack of personal protective equipment can further hinder the fight against the pandemic. In Niger, 32 health professionals have tested positive for COVID-19, representing 7.2% of all registered cases.

International Solidarity

Emergency medical teams from China and the UK have begun to support the response in the African region. A team from China is currently supporting the response in Nigeria, while a British team is working in Zambia. Another will be implemented soon in Burkina Faso.