Death rates among adults in the 30 days after being admitted to critical care with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection appear considerably higher in Africa than globally. This is according to a prospective observational study from 64 hospitals in 10 African countries.

The researchers say a critical factor in these excess deaths may be a lack of intensive care resources and underuse of those available. For example, half of the patients died without being given oxygen, and while sixty-eight percent of hospitals had access to renal dialysis, only ten percent of severely ill patients received it.

Professor Bruce Biccard from Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town who co-led the research says the study is the first to give a detailed and comprehensive picture of what is happening to people who are severely ill with COVID-19 in Africa.

He says sadly data indicates that our ability to provide sufficient care is compromised by a shortage of critical care beds and limited resources within intensive care units.

Until now, little was known about how COVID-19 was affecting critically ill patients in the African continent as there have been no reported clinical outcomes data from Africa, or patient management data in low-resource settings.

In the video below, Professor Bruce Biccard elaborates on the study: