Brazzaville, 29 April 2021 – The chance of COVID-19 resurgence stays excessive in a number of African international locations because of poor adherence to public well being measures, mass gatherings, low testing and vaccination charges, an evaluation by the World Well being Group (WHO) has proven.
Three international locations face very excessive threat of COVID-19 resurgence, 20 face excessive, 22 average threat, and just one nation faces low threat, in keeping with the danger evaluation of 46 international locations. The chance was estimated utilizing seven indicators with information from the previous 4 weeks, together with COVID-19 instances per million folks; the share of change in new instances; the share of change in new deaths; the reproductive quantity (the speed at which an an infection spreads); the pandemic development; the typical weekly variety of exams per 10 000 folks; and the share of the inhabitants that has obtained at the very least one vaccine dose.
With greater than 4.5 million confirmed instances and over 120 000 deaths thus far, the continent has not skilled a surge in instances since January and the epidemic curve has plateaued for six weeks. Nonetheless, the comparatively low variety of instances has inspired complacency and there are indicators of diminished observance of preventive measures. Latest political rallies in international locations akin to Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Kenya brought on a spike in new instances. Upcoming elections in Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe and Zambia may set off an increase in instances because of mass gatherings.
“We can’t be lulled right into a false sense of safety. The devastating surge of instances and deaths in India, and will increase in different areas of the world, are clear indicators that the pandemic shouldn’t be but over in African international locations. A brand new upsurge of COVID-19 infections is an actual threat in lots of international locations even when the area’s case rely in current weeks seems to be secure,” mentioned Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Combatting COVID-19 fatigue seems to be the important thing battle in our collective response to the pandemic.”
Most international locations within the area are experiencing neighborhood transmission, but 31 out of the 46 international locations analysed carried out fewer than 10 exams per 10 000 folks per week up to now 4 weeks. This implies that the variety of instances reported up to now 28 days might not mirror the true scenario as international locations proceed to focus on solely folks with signs for testing.
“Most new instances are nonetheless not being detected amongst identified contacts. Investigation of clusters of instances and make contact with tracing are worryingly low in most international locations within the area,” Dr Moeti mentioned. “We should scale up testing together with by fast diagnostic exams to reinforce response to the pandemic.”
Moreover, it can be crucial for international locations to step up case discovering in areas with widespread neighborhood transmission, enhance capability to isolate instances and reorganize the well being workforce together with by redeploying well being employees to the most-affected areas.
The pandemic has had widespread affect throughout many sectors, with key well being providers in a number of African international locations nonetheless reeling from disruptions skilled greater than a yr for the reason that first instances had been confirmed on the continent. Of the 40 international locations responding to a WHO survey performed earlier this yr, 95% reported disruptions of various diploma.
Whereas the survey exhibits there was an enchancment in service provision, with 41% of providers disrupted between January and March 2021 in contrast with 64% within the final quarter of 2020, the persistent excessive ranges of disruption to well being providers even after many international locations have eased restrictions is regarding. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be having a long-term affect on well being providers.
“The pandemic’s shockwaves have continued, however we should work exhausting to make sure that they don’t turn into intractable and additional weaken well being system’s capability to deal with potential surges in COVID-19 infections,” Dr Moeti mentioned.
Most international locations have carried out insurance policies to revamp important providers, however extra assist is required to reinforce the welfare of well being employees, restore folks’s confidence in looking for well being providers and construct stronger safeguards for well being system to raised deal with shocks.
Dr Moeti spoke throughout a digital press convention right this moment facilitated by APO Group. She was joined Dr Christian Owoo, Ghana Nationwide COVID-19 Case Administration Coordinator for Extreme and Essential Ailments and Senior Lecturer, College of Ghana Medical Faculty, and Dr Kaushik Ramaiya, Normal Secretary of the Tanzania Diabetes Affiliation and NCD Alliance. Additionally available to reply questions had been Dr Nsenga Ngoy, Emergency Response Programme Supervisor, WHO Regional Workplace for Africa, and Dr Phionah Atuhebwe, Vaccines Introduction Officer, WHO Regional Workplace for Africa.
Please click on the hyperlink beneath to entry statements, audio recordsdata and soundbites as they turn into out there: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BmpaMS0lBoqA4G4ahhGeF4MCHYm-HB2L
WHO Regional Workplace for Africa
Tel: + 242 06 520 65 65
WHO Regional Workplace for Africa
Tel: +242 065 081 009