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Coronavirus: $50m needed to strengthen preparedness in West African region – WAHO

...says only about six countries have diagnostic capacity

The West African Health Organization (WAHO), the institution of ECOWAS for health has stated the west African region is in need of about $50M funding to strengthen the capacity of member states especially weak countries that lack the capacity to diagnose or contain the Covid-19 (Coranavirus).

The Director General, WAHO Stanley Okolo, noted that only about six countries out of 15 countries in the region have the capacity to diagnose and contain the virus explaining that the needed funding will be used to boost capacity of weak countries, purchase reagents among others.

The DG said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday on the emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health ECOWAS on regional preparedness and response to the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic in China which was held in Bamako, Republic of Mali, on 14 February 2020.

Okolo listed states with capacity to diagnose to include; Nigeria, Burkina faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal with each country having at least one suspected cases that tested negative. Nigeria has the highest number of suspected cases with a total of five so far..

The minister of state for health Olurunnimbe Mamora speaking on the outcome of the emergency meeting said ministers of member countries have resolved to urgently strengthen critical national capacities for diagnosing and managing cases; Develop a strategic costed regional preparedness plan based on Member States’ priorities for governments, partners, and the private sector to support Promote multi-sectoral national efforts using one-health approach to maximise impact

The Ministers according to him also resolved to: “Strengthen coordination, communication, and collaboration amongst Member States in preparedness for Covid-19 epidemic, including cross-border collaboration

“Enhance surveillance and management measures for Covid-19, particularly at entry points – air, land and sea Step up communication to ensure that the public receives accurate, appropriate and timely information regarding the epidemic

“Implement robust measures to assure availability of critical medical supplies, including laboratory materials, and personal protective equipment in the region

“Work closely with the relevant authorities of National Governments and the Chinese Government to monitor and assure the health situation of our citizens resident in China”, the minister said.


Godsgift Onyedinefu, Abuja

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