A shared learning seminar looking at the state of COVID-19 in Africa. Addressing some of the challenges and opportunities for Wales-based NGOs and how we can assist our partners in combating Covid-19.
From sending accurate information, financial support or technical support, we hope this session will address some these issues through the expertise of health practitioners (Wales, UK & Africa) and community activists in both Wales and Africa.
Speaker expertise includes experiences in tackling Ebola in Sierra Leone & Liberia and will share some tools and resources used to combat the disease.
It is believed that unless extremely fast action is taken, the prospect of an imminent COVID-19 catastrophe in Africa will become real. Despite registering low figures so far, the trajectory and impact of COVID-19 could be far worse – much harder to contain and causing far more death and damage to communities.
Various factors play to this assumption, these include:
- Weak health systems currently overstretched with patients from other diseases e.g Malaria and HIV
- Limited intensive care capacity for treatment of severe COVID-19 cases
- Misdiagnosis risk and confused messaging e.g. malaria or tuberculosis and COVID-19 symptoms may overlap
- Not seeking treatment for fear of being contaminated with COVID-19
- Feasibility of the pandemic suppression strategies being applied
- Fake news and lack of accurate information on COVID-19.
Despite these challenges, there are reasons for hope. African countries can leverage their experience in responding to HIV-AIDS, TB , malaria and Ebola. Expertise in mass testing, screening and tracing, in strengthening diagnostics capacity and in mobilising communities is widespread.
Most African leaders have acted swiftly in preparing infrastructure and putting systems in place e.g. closing borders, schools & offices. With only 3% of the continent’s population being over 65, some argue that Africa’s relative youth may dampen the overall fatality rate.
But the dangers are tremendous. COVID-19 could stop progress towards ending the epidemics of HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria. As overstretched health ministries mobilise to counter the new threat, we’re already seeing health workers, resources and attention diverted.