Africa — where lifesaving equipment like ventilators, oxygen and masks, and even basic necessities like water and soap, are in short supply — could become the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization has warned.
Michel Yao, the WHO’s emergency operations manager in Africa, said last Thursday that Africa could see more than 10 million severe cases of the virus in the next six months, based on provisional models.
A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said that in a worst-case scenario, where no interventions against the virus are taken, 3.3 million people in Africa could die from COVID-19 and 1.2 billion could be infected by the end of year.
Even under the best-case scenario, the report said, 300,000 people in Africa could perish from the virus.
To date, the continent has reported more than 20,000 cases of coronavirus and 1,000 deaths.
Africa, the U.N. report said, is “particularly susceptible” to COVID-19 because of widespread poverty, overcrowded living conditions and the highest prevalence among all the continents “of certain underlying conditions, like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.”
A lack of medical equipment and poor access to basic necessities like water and soap could further exacerbate COVID-19’s effects on African nations.
Coronavirus could kill 300,000 people in Africa this year, says @ECA_OFFICIAL.— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) April 18, 2020
Earlier, we talked to @WHOAFRO about how African nations can prepare. More via @business: https://t.co/08zoBqFCQh pic.twitter.com/UYsa5kj28Z
Public hospitals across 41 African countries have fewer than 2,000 working ventilators, The New York Times reported on Saturday, citing WHO data. The United States, in contrast, has 170,000.
Ten countries in Africa have no ventilators at all, according to the Times. Several nations, including South Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have five machines or fewer. Even if those numbers increase because of donations, the region lacks adequate trained personnel to use the equipment, the U.N. report noted.
Other critical medical equipment, including masks and oxygen, are also scarce across the continent, and only 34 percent of African households have access to basic hand-washing facilities, the U.N. said.
“We are now failing. Let me use that word deliberately,” epidemiologist Mahad Hassan, a member of the Somalian government’s coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post of the country’s COVID-19 response. “At our main treatment center, almost nothing is there. Last time I visited, beds, only beds.”
Somalia’s public health system reportedly does not have a single ventilator at its disposal. More than 100 confirmed cases have been reported in the country so far, though at least one health official told the Post that the number could “be even a million.”
Hassan told the Post he’s expecting “very, very painful weeks ahead.”
- 5 feared dead, 15 injured in accident on Accra-Tema motorway
- Blunt and Blay: Finding ‘silence’ for Auntie Ohene from uncle Sam’s ‘noise’
- Woman allegedly murders elder sister over a piece of land
- Far from silence, we suffer a culture of noise – Elizabeth Ohene
- Claims of fasting affecting health unfounded – Islamic Medical Association, Ghana
- Over 200 police personnel deployed to enforce mining directives across Ghana
- Akufo-Addo accepts Kissi Agyebeng’s nomination as Special Prosecutor, seeks Parliamentary approval
- NSMQ 2021: Presec beats Achimota, Chemu and Odorgonno SHS to be crowned Regional Champions
- Trader jailed for impregnating his physically challenged daughter
- Our job is to fix problems; we are fixing them – Bawumia
Man Utd through to Europa League final despite loss
Arsenal’s Europa League hopes ended by Villareal
#FixTheCountry: Government is doing itself a disservice if it keeps being mute – Dr Kobby Mensah
Restriction order against #FixTheCountry protest very strange – Samson Lardy Anyenini
Livestream: PM Express discusses Ghana’s economy and the business environment
I couldn’t pursue higher education but developed my talent to be successful -Amankwa-Ampofo
Wives of Ghana Baptist Convention Pastors lament poor welfare of husbands
Arrive Alive: Alban Bagbin endorses road safety campaign
Akufo-Addo’s government has a track record for fixing problems, we will overcome Covid challenges – Bawumia
Students of Obuasi Sec Tech develop smart ballot box
Chieftaincy Ministry condemns ‘Pneumatica Night’; charges police to prosecute leaders over Covid-19 protocols
Cost of getting elected to positions is the root of corruption – Asiedu Nketia
#FixTheCountry: We’ll use the courts to set aside order against May 9 protest – Economic Fighters League
Ahafo Health Director grateful to stakeholders for Covid-19 control
Domestic fires continue to dominate in Upper East Region