Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa says that is important to empower different levels of government and health centres to be as it responds to the disease.
The World Health Organisation-WHO is urging African countries not
to be let down with the increasing cases of covid-19 on the continent and
instead work hard to stop the spread of the disease.
Africa’s first COVID-19 case was recorded in Egypt on 14 February. Since then the
virus has spread to 52 countries.
According to the UN health agency, while most African countries have poor
health systems that could derail efforts to stop the spread, the number of
precautionary measures that have been set up in these countries can play a big
role in reducing the spread of the disease.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa says that is
important to empower different levels of government and health centres to be as
it responds to the disease.
“COVID-19 has the potential not only to cause thousands of deaths but to also
unleash economic and social devastation. We need a decentralised response,
which is tailored to the local context. Communities need to be empowered and
provincial and district levels of government need to ensure they have the
resources and expertise to respond to outbreaks locally, “she said.
According to Dr Moeti, the decentralisation of testing capacities in African
countries will enable a bigger number of people to know their COVID-19 status.
So far many countries are concentrating on testing cases that present with
symptoms of the disease, which Dr Moeti says might lead to the spread of the
disease through asymptomatic patients.
So far, only seven countries-Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
and Nigeria have expanded national testing to multiple labs, allowing for
These combined measures will ensure the rapid identification of cases, the
tracking down and quarantining of contacts and the isolation and treatment of
patients. It is also crucial that people are provided with accurate information
which will promote healthy behaviours. Protection of health workers is a vital
component of the response and when governments implement physical distancing
measures, the basic needs of people should be taken into account.
Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern
Mediterranean says that while African countries have the potential to stop the
spread of the disease, they should use time tested methods like social
distancing and also plan for the worst cases scenarios when dealing with the
“Africa still has an opportunity to reduce and slow down disease
transmission. All countries must rapidly accelerate and scale up a
comprehensive response to the pandemic, including an appropriate combination of
proven public health and physical distancing measures. Within that
process, Member States should target effective control of the outbreak, but
plan for the worst,” Dr Al-Mahlndhari said.
As of Wednesday, over 10,712 cases have been confirmed. South Africa, Algeria,
Egypt and Morocco have reported the highest numbers at 1,749, 1468, 1,450 and
1, 184 respectively.
South Sudan has the least number of confirmed cases at two.