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COVID-19 in Senegal: The needs to fight the pandemic are significant

Interview with Dr. Charles Tehoua, Emergency Medical Coordinator for ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action).

What is the current health situation in the country, regarding COVID-19? 

According to data from the Senegalese Ministry of Health, between July 26 and August 2, 2021, the number of new positive cases, severe cases, and deaths increased by 8.2%, 22.9%, and 67.8%, respectively. To increase the availability of care for patients with a severe form of the disease, the Senegalese Ministry of Health has announced the opening of three new COVID-19 Treatment Centers in Dakar, the country’s capital, where the 3rd wave of COVID-19 is most prominent. 

What are the biggest needs?

Despite the efforts of Senegalese health authorities to increase the capacity of COVID-19 Treatment Centers in Dakar, the needs in terms of medical equipment, oxygen capacity, medications and human resources are significant. The same is true for pediatrics – for children suffering from COVID-19 and co-morbidities – and also for the care of pregnant women with the virus.

How does ALIMA plan to respond? 

As a first step, to help reduce mortality related to COVID-19, ALIMA plans to implement emergency response activities at the District Hospital in Yeumbeul, located 20 kilometers north of Dakar, to support the care of patients with moderate and severe COVID-19. 

ALIMA plans to recruit a team of intensive care specialists, doctors, nurses and hygienists to help care for patients with COVID-19, as well as a gynecologist and an anesthesiologist, to care for pregnant women requiring a Cesarean section at the COVID-19 Obstetrical Treatment Center in Yeumbeul. In addition, the establishment of a triage ward and the donation of supplies necessary for the admission of patients is underway. Our teams will assist with the strengthening of Infection Prevention and Control measures, and ALIMA plans to donate medications, and medical and biomedical equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, high-flow oxygen masks and Personal Protective Equipment.

Our teams are also ready to help improve vaccination coverage in Senegal, if needed. Since May, our teams have launched several vaccination campaigns, in partnership with the Ministries of Health, in Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. 

Cover photo: © ALIMA

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