More kits, surveillance and case management needed

29 April 2020 | Health

As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread across Africa, countries are ramping up efforts to contain it. World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti spoke with Africa Renewal about the continent’s preparedness and response to the global pandemic:

Where is Africa in terms of preparedness and response to COVID-19?

M: Several weeks ago, we only had two labs in two countries [South Africa and Senegal] where testing for novel coronavirus was available. Now 41 countries in the African region can diagnose this virus. Countries have also made progress in point-of-entry screening and establishing follow-up surveillance mechanisms. They need to expand on this so that any health worker — and more importantly people at the community level — can recognize the signs and symptoms of this illness.

Where is progress on the COVID-19 response needed most?

The areas most in need of progress include making sure that countries have the necessary supplies and equipment. First, we need personal protective equipment, to protect healthcare workers, and laboratory testing kits. We have a global-level market distortion which means some of these items are difficult to obtain. There is also a need to improve on surveillance in many of our member states. From the point of entry, there is a need for close follow-up of people travelling from highly-affected countries. Then when people are put in isolation, including self-isolation, there needs to be some means of following up to ensure that this is actually happening.

What about establishing COVID-19 treatment centres?

We also need better case management and the establishment of treatment centres for people with COVID-19. We recognize that most of our countries do not have enough critical care beds in intensive care units, so this can be [addressed] by creating and equipping special temporary field-type hospitals in field-type spaces. People who have mild illness or who are infected but asymptomatic do not need to be admitted to hospital, where the beds are needed for seriously ill patients.

Which African countries are good examples of COVID-19 preparedness and response?

We have seen different countries manifest diverse aspects that are critical, at the political level, to a successful response. For example, some heads of state have made commitments to or have established high-level response mechanism, while others have set up commissions to coordinate their response.

How close are we to a COVID-19 vaccine and what can be done to ensure that it is accessible to all?

I believe there are about 20 vaccines being tested at the moment by different researchers. Some of our experience in developing a vaccine for the Ebola virus, for example, is being used now to promote partnership and sharing of information around the development of a [coronavirus] vaccine. Developing a vaccine, even in this fast-track mode of working, takes some time, so we don't expect there to be a vaccine available this year, at least. (www.un.org/coronavirus)

Similar News

 

Being in the zone

16 hours ago | Health

Henriette Lamprecht – It was three words that would change the course of her life forever. An epiphany that signalled in neon letters: “That is...

Economic and epidemiological impact of youth suicide

2 days ago - 21 September 2021 | Health

Globally, suicide is the second most common cause of death, after road traffic accidents, among young people aged between 15–24 years. A growing evidence base...

Namibia runs low on condoms

1 week ago - 16 September 2021 | Health

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI There are no condoms at most bars and sheebens in northern Namibia as well as some clinics and health...

Psemas axes non-compliant pensioners

1 week ago - 16 September 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKThe government medical aid has removed over 15 000 retired members...

Covid: Geingob encourages vaccinations as 3 436 die

1 week ago - 15 September 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKESOnly 9% of Namibians fully vaccinated14% Khomas fully vaccinated (highest regionally)15.1% of national population received first jab3 556 doses administered per day ...

Suicide in youth

1 week ago - 14 September 2021 | Health

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29 year olds globally. There is also an increasing awareness in the general population about the...

One in 100 deaths is by suicide

2 weeks ago - 07 September 2021 | Health

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide according to the World Health Organisation.Every year, more people die as a result of suicide...

Vaccine accessibility improves in Erongo

2 weeks ago - 07 September 2021 | Health

ADOLF KAURE SWAKOPMUNDErongo governor Neville Andre has lauded the Swakopmund drive-through vaccination station as...

Mandatory workplace vaccines explored

3 weeks ago - 31 August 2021 | Health

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKSome of the leading business minds in the country say companies will...

The role of artificial intelligence in diagnoses

3 weeks ago - 31 August 2021 | Health

Researchers at Cambridge University and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have developed an approach using artificial intelligence that can diagnose dementia from a single brain scan,...

Latest News

Environment providing a good buying...

16 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUDespite interest rates being at record lows and providing a good buying opportunity, economic challenges faced by consumers and low confidence in future economic...

British employers offer more signing...

16 hours ago | Economics

Some British employers are offering more signing bonuses to tackle labour shortages and overcome hiring bottlenecks, data from Indeed Hiring Lab’s quarterly report showed on...

UK inflation expectations jump in...

16 hours ago | Economics

The British public's expectations for inflation over the next year and over the longer-term jumped this month, raising the risk that the Bank of England...

EDITORIAL: The monsters among us

16 hours ago | Opinion

It is continuing shame that especially little girls and women have to have it ingrained in them not to expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations...

New IPC councillor joins Otjiwarongo...

16 hours ago | Politics

ESTER KAMATI OTJIWARONGOThe Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) has nominated Otjiwarongo constituency...

SA regulator approves floating power...

16 hours ago | Economics

South Africa's energy regulator on Tuesday approved generating licenses for three controversial floating power plants, stoking environmental concerns as Africa's most industrialised nation grapples with...

Zuma seeks to replace prosecutor...

16 hours ago | Economics

A South African court on Tuesday resumed a trial that has dragged out for years over a US$2 billion arms deal involving ex-president Jacob Zuma,...

No legal aid for Dippenaar...

16 hours ago | Justice

ERWIN LEUSCHNERSWAKOPMUNDClose to seven years after a devastating traffic accident near Henties Bay, which claimed six lives, a trial date is set to be fixed...

Nigeria, Ghana to join digital...

16 hours ago | Economics

SEGUN OLAKOYENIKANNigeria and Ghana are racing to adopt a central bank digital currency as they look to ride the wave of popularity of cryptocurrencies in...

Load More