COVID-19: WAHO distributes 90,000 kits, says there is enough for W/Africa

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The West African Health Organisation (WAHO), has said that it is doing everything within its power to ensure that West African countries do not run out of medical kits and supplies to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

WAHO, an ECOWAS institution, said in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday that in spite of the disruption of supply chains, it would ensure that medical demands were met.

This is even as the organisation also hinted that it had so far distributed 90,000 kits, including diagnostic test kits, specimen transportation kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

WAHO also hinted that it was currently sourcing for ventilators to distribute to the 15 member-states to help manage the pandemic.

It noted that since the first case was reported from Lagos, Nigeria on Feb. 27, 2020 there had been a total of 1,077 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.

“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.

“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 March 30, and  April 7.

“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 severer ill patients in hospitals, to distribute to countries.

”However, there continues to be the challenge of securing sufficient materials given the disruption in global supply chains.

“This is something WAHO is tackling through its partnership with other agencies and bodies to ensure we never run out of stock in the region,” it said.

The organisation said that it’s efforts were to supplement those of the individual member-states.

It added that it was the institution designated by the highest authorities of ECOWAS to lead the coordination, collaboration and communication in the region with regard to COVID-19 pandemic.

It recalled that WAHO had among other things convened an emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health of ECOWAS on preparedness and response to the outbreak of COVID-19 and had strengthened the capacity of member-states through training.

Waho said that it had also developed operational guides for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic while also engaging in online training for healthcare workers.

The ECOWAS health institution, however, maintained that the most important tool in the fight was the behavior of every citizen.

“It is of utmost importance that the citizens heed the information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones, and so stop the spread of the pandemic in their own community.

“Every citizen must:

“Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, or if not possible clean them with an alcoholbased hand sanitiser.

“Limit the number of people with whom you are in contact each day and reduce physical contact to the minimum. Maintain at least 1.5 meter distance between yourself and anyone, do NOT shake hands, kiss or hug.

“Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, particularly with unwashed hands since the virus easily infects the body through these areas.

“Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

“Avoid places of concentration of people, such as sports, cultural and religious gatherings. These events should be cancelled in all our communities.

“Stay home if you feel unwell, or if you feel you have come in contact with someone with Covid-19.

“If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention following the directions of your local health authority,” he said.

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