By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the globe, a total of 1,086 confirmed cases and 31 deaths have so far been recorded in the West African region.
Director-General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Professor Stanley Okolo, made this known during a media teleconference on Wednesday.
This figure represents 0.7% of 165,000 confirmed cases and 0.9% of deaths so far recorded in the United States of America (USA).
According to Prof. Okolo, a total of 30,000 diagnostic testing kits, 10,000 personal protection equipment (PPE) and 50,000 specimen transportation kits had been distributed by WAHO to the 15 ECOWAS member-states since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“These were the first testing kits received by most of our countries, and we are also currently distributing some medications to Member States. Many States have received their allocation of diagnostic kits, but all the other support are expected to be delivered to the countries by DHL between 30 March and 7 April,” he disclosed.
While WAHO had also placed orders for more PPEs, which should be arriving within the 12 days, he said “in addition, we are sourcing for ventilators which will be distributed to ECOWAS nations in need of the item.”
He said: “In addition, we are sourcing for ventilators which are equipment for supporting the breathing of severely ill patients in hospitals to distribute to countries. All these efforts are to supplement what individual countries are doing by themselves.
“All these are meant to complement efforts by the individual member states in controlling the spread of the pandemic,” he explained.
Okolo said that in this exercise, WAHO was concentrating its efforts on five key areas: Laboratory kits, personal protection equipment for health workers involved in life-saving efforts, ventilators, training of health personnel and financial and other forms of support to individual member countries.