The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarm over the surge in confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa, saying over 10, 000 health workers have been infected with the deadly respiratory disease on the continent.
It explained that the number of infected health workers in Africa is more than 5% of cases in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and that the increase in the number of confirmed cases on the continent portends more danger, especially for health workers.
WHO Africa Region Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, noted that the continent has no fewer than 750, 000 cases of COVID-19 with over 15, 000 fatalities recorded, stressing that about 10% of COVID-19 cases globally are among health workers, while admitting that, “in Africa, information on health worker infections is still limited.”
“More than 10, 000 health workers in the 40 countries which have reported on such infections have been infected with COVID-19 so far, a sign of the challenges medical staff on the frontlines of the outbreak face. This comes as COVID-19 cases in Africa appear to be gathering pace. There are now more than 750, 000 cases of COVID-19, with over 15 000 deaths.”
“The growth we are seeing is placing an ever peg eater strain on health services across the continent. This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them,’’ Moeti said.
He explained that inadequate protective equipment is one of the reasons for the rising number of infected health workers as well as patients who do not show signs of having the virus.
“One infection among health workers is one too many. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are our mothers, brothers, and sisters. They are helping to save lives endangered by COVID-19. We must make sure that they have the equipment, skills, and information they need to keep themselves, their patients, and colleagues safe.” he added.
As part of its efforts to reduce the number of health workers infected with the virus, the WHO Africa said it has trained 50, 000 health workers on the continent and plans to increase the number to 200, 000.
“WHO is also helping to fill gaps in the supply of personal protective equipment. Currently, 41 million items of personal protective equipment are ready to ship from China to cover the needs of 47 African countries. Shipments for an initial set of 23 African countries are planned to start this weekend,” WHO said in a blog post on its website.
Over 10,000 health workers in #Africa have been infected with #COVID19 – a sign of the challenges medical staff on the frontlines of the outbreak face. @WHO is supporting countries & has trained more than 50,000 health workers.
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) July 23, 2020