Friday, March 20, 2020

Africa's fragile health systems rush to contain coronavirus

With limited intensive care beds, governments are putting their hopes in preventing and detecting the outbreak

 A health professional conducts a Covid-19 test in Johannesburg. Despite having one of the continent’s best public health systems, South Africa has fewer than 1,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for its 56 million people. Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images

Governments across Africa are rushing to reinforce measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, fearing that fragile health systems will be swiftly overwhelmed if the disease spreads beyond a small number of cases on the continent.

World Health Organization (WHO) officials have called for a strong response to a “tremendously fast rise in the number of countries with cases being confirmed”.

“We have to ratchet up what is being done,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa.  Read more >>