COVID-19 in Africa

The impact of COVID-19 in Africa is frightening. Africa already carries 23% of the global disease burden such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis but only accounts for 1% of the global health expenditure. There are over 4300 confirmed infections with COVID-19 in Africa along with 117 recorded deaths but this may not reflect the true picture due to the wide spread lack of testing in Africa. There are over 650,000 cases globally including over 30,000 deaths and it is increasing rapidly.

The impact in Africa will be devastating unless something is done urgently which is acknowledged by many global leaders including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,

“Africa is in urgent need of tests kits, masks, and ventilators, protective suits for health workers…we can still prevent the worst in Africa but without a massive mobilization we will have millions and millions of people contaminated which means millions of deaths”, as reported by RFI.

Some facts about COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19 although there are ongoing trials and encouraging results driven from small clinical data sets prompting use of some medications for compassionate use.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow; trash used tissue in trash; then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as stated above.

Symptoms of COVID 19 that may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

Emergency warning signs to get medical attention immediately
And consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

A former classmate who is a highly trained and experienced pediatrician with many years of work in public health in Ethiopia and Africa stated in a recent e mail,
“ the issue of COVID-19 is more scary in Africa. Though there are still few cases, we are very fearful that these number might increase, and as part of the response I and friends from UK and Canada have launched an initiative called BeatCorona ( We have to applaud and help such effort.

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed has stressed that only global victory can bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end on an op-ed published on Financial Times on March 25. He called for a global leadership,
“Without that, Africa may suffer the worst, yet it will not be the last. We are all in this together, and we must work together to the end.”

We all have a moral responsibility to contribute in any way we can to defeat COVID-19.

Radio France International

About Tenayistilign

I am a physician trained at Jimma Institute of Health Sciences ( now Jimma University, in Jimma, Ethiopia) and Wayne State University ( Detroit, MI, USA). I teach and practice General Nephrology/Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation in the USA.
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