Since December, 2019, the world woke up to the announcement of a virus that has since killed 14,770 people and over 439,940 cases globally. The condition has since 11th March, 2020 been declared a pandemic by the WHO.
Currently, 308,254 are infected with about 4% (13,425) in critical or serious condition while 96% (294,829) are in mild condition globally (as at 25th March, 2020).
Currently, 196 countries and territories have been infected around the world with one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship).
Africa recorded its first case in Egypt on the 25th February, 2020 while Ghana reported its first case on 12th March, 2020. Since then, there have been a surge in reported cases (1,620 and 29 deaths as at 25th March, 2020) on the continent albeit slow compared with other regions2. A total of 45 Africa countries have so far been affected.
We have observed and applaud national efforts at curbing the growing incidence and we want to compliment that with the following recommendations:
1. Ensure all the required expertise such as health systems, quality & patient safety experts and other relevant sectors are involved in the mitigation efforts.
2. Prioritize the ready availability of adequate numbers of personal protective equipment. All efforts should be made so no health worker dies saving a life.
3. Introduce innovative community approaches, including voluntary testing facilities to increase access to testing, especially in localities where persons infected have been recorded. Let us invest in testing…and like Dr. Tedros (WHO-DG) said, “test, test, test”. We can’t continue to fight an enemy we are not seeing!
4. Learn from the success stories of other countries and be bold to contain the spread of the infection by restricting social interactions (lockdown) and contact with high risk persons (quarantine).
5. Allocate a clear budget line for the response to Covid-19 as a continent and countries.
6. Accelerate efforts to ensure consistent, accurate and timely public/mass education of the citizenry to:
a. Create citizenry awareness of the seriousness of the pandemic
b. Facilitate the adoption of appropriate changes in attitudes, behaviours and practices.
c. Ensure compliance to national interventions.
d. Manage misinformation and fake news.
We are all vulnerable in the face of Covid-19. Let us be aggressive and accelerate our efforts, let us reach out in support of each other for we are all in this together.
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