African Health Ministers have called for greater vigilance ahead off a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
The ministers gathered for the 17th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa this week, which took stock of the region’s efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past three weeks, the African region has recorded a steady increase in COVID-19 cases. As of Sunday, 18 countries reported an increase of more than 20% in the previous seven days when compared with the last seven days.
In a statement by the WHO, Republic of Congo Minister of Health and Population and Chairperson of the Seventieth Regional Committee, Jacqueline Mikolo called for increased high-level political commitment, solidarity, information-sharing, and research on traditional medicines in the fight against COVID-19.
Mikolo says “Our commitment to preserve the gains made and work hard and together to contain a possible second wave of COVID-19 in Africa.”
She also noted that it was crucial to fight complacency in observing COVID-19 preventive measures by strengthening communication and epidemiological surveillance.
Most African countries took swift action early, and these efforts to limit movement and gatherings along with implementing key public health measures have helped keep cases and deaths in Africa lower than in many other parts of the world.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, underscored the importance of bolstering prevention, notably as people travel or gather for end-of-year celebrations. “As we observe cases surge in parts of Europe and the Americas, and an uptick in our regional daily cases graph, we cannot be complacent. We need to prepare for a resurgence, including scaling-up precautions in risky situations such as festive and elections-related gatherings.”
Below is the full statement by the WHO: