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Coronavirus: We’re sourcing ventilators to support member states – WAHO

The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has said, as part of efforts to supplement what the various West African countries are doing by themselves to fight COVID-19, it is sourcing ventilators to support critically ill patients for distribution across the sub-region.

Since West Africa recorded its first COVID-19 case in Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday, 27 February 2020, the sub-region, as of Tuesday, 31 March 2020, has seen a total of 1,077 new confirmed cases and 31 deaths reported with Sierra Leone being the last country in West Africa to report a case.

WAHO, in a statement released on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, said it has “distributed over 30,000” diagnostic COVID-19 test kits to the 15 ECOWAS member states and “these were the first testing kits received by most of our countries, and we are also currently distributing 50,000 specimen transportation kits, 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE), and some medications to member states.”

Meanwhile, “many states have received their allocation of diagnostic kits, but all the other support is expected to be delivered to the countries by DHL between 30 March and 7 April. We have placed orders for more diagnostic test kits and PPEs which we expect to arrive within the next 2 weeks.”

WAHO also indicated that in addition to the above, it is “sourcing for ventilators which are equipment for supporting the breathing of severely ill patients in hospitals to distribute to countries”, as part of efforts to supplement what individual countries are doing by themselves.”

It, however, reiterated that the most important tool in the fight against the pandemic “is the behaviour of every citizen”.

“It is of utmost importance that the citizens heed the information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones, and so stop the spread of the pandemic in their own community” and reminded every citizen to “regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, or if not possible clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

“Limit the number of people with whom you are in contact each day and reduce physical contact to the minimum. Maintain, at least, 1.5-meter distance between yourself and anyone, do NOT shake hands, kiss or hug.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, particularly with unwashed hands since the virus easily infects the body through these areas. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; then dispose of the used tissue immediately.


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