- Africa is ill-prepared to fight coronavirus.
- There are 4 beds for every 1 million people.
- Preventive measures in the continent are less costly.
The Covid-19 pandemic could kill over 180,000 people in Africa within the first year. Moreover, between 29 million and 44 million Africans could be infected within the first year, especially in the event that containment measures fail. This is according to the latest warning from the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to WHO Africa director, Matshidiso Moeti, healthcare systems in Africa have a high probability of being overwhelmed by the scourge because of lack of medical facilities. Moeti said:
“While Covid-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smolder in transmission hotspots. Covid-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.”
Many African countries have already banned public gatherings and shut down international travel. Curfews and varying lockdown measures that are meant to prevent the spread of the virus have also been enacted, but it is only a matter of time before he measures become less effective. A spike in community-level infections could devastate the populace.
The virus spread to Africa much later when compared to other continents. As things stand, overall transmission rates are still much lower. Dr Mortihas has underlined that strict containment measures are less expensive than curative measures and so African governments should continue to reinforce them.
“The importance of promoting effective containment measures is ever more crucial, as sustained and widespread transmission of the virus could severely overwhelm our health systems. Curbing a largescale outbreak is far costlier than the ongoing preventive measures governments are undertaking to contain the spread of the virus.”
As of May 7, the number of deaths caused by the malady in Africa was at 2,024. Notable fatalities include Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango, the former President of the Republic of the Congo. Former Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein also succumbed to the ailment.
There are currently just over 52,000 confirmed infections in the continent and about 18,000 recoveries. This is according to statistics released by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why Africa Has Fewer Infection Cases Than Europe And The United States
The fact that there’s less international travel in Africa is believed to be among the main reasons why the spread of the coronavirus has been slow. However, now that the virus is on the continent, the spread is bound to increase exponentially.
The World Health Organization has said that the virus is now spreading from the big cities to rural zones. This has been witnessed in Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Ghana.
The organization says that there are only about five intensive care beds for every one million people in many African countries. In Europe, there are approximately 4,000 beds for every one million people.