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WAHO Providing Financial and Material Support to ECOWAS Member States to fight Covid-19

1 April 2020 – The Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region since the first case was reported from Lagos, Nigeria on 27 February 2020. As of yesterday, 31 March 2020, a total of 1,077 new confirmed cases and 31 deaths have been reported across all 15 Member States. Sierra Leone was the last country in the ECOWAS region to be affected and reported a confirmed Covid-19 case on 31 March 2020.

The West African Health Organization, WAHO has distributed over 30,000 diagnostic 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.

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. We have placed orders for more diagnostic test kits and PPEs which we expect to arrive within the next 2 weeks. 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.

As the Institution designated by the highest authorities of ECOWAS to lead the coordination, collaboration and communication in the region with regards to Covid-19 pandemic, WAHO has been very active in bringing together Member States to adopt a regional approach to the pandemic and to support them as necessary. On 14 February 2020, a few days after the declaration by WHO of Covid-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, The West African Health Organization, WAHO convened an emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health of ECOWAS on preparedness and response to the outbreak of Covid-19, the first region in Africa to do so. The meeting agreed on a unified regional approach to Covid-19, and we held media briefings on this in Bamako, Mali on 14 February 2020, and in Abuja, Nigeria on 17 February 2020.

Other key actions WAHO is taking to fight this Covid-19 pandemic is the development of Operational Guides for the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in the ECOWAS region; and an online training for healthcare workers on the use of these guides. The online training starts in the week of 6-12 April 2020.

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