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COVID-19: “African countries need reinforcement in terms of qualified medical staff, medical supplies, and equipment, as well as medicines.”

Interview with Nicolas Mouly, ALIMA’s Program Manager for Emergency Response and Country Openings

What are the capacities of African countries, which already face many health care challenges, in terms of management of COVID-19, compared to European countries?

Most African countries have much more limited resources for patient care than European countries. For example, hospital bed capacity is almost 20 times less in Africa, compared to that in France, and there are almost 50 times fewer doctors per inhabitant than in European countries.

What is currently being done by Senegal’s Ministry of Health and ALIMA at the Fann hospital in Dakar?

When a patient is admitted to Fann Hospital, they are being referred by an ambulance directly to the triage unit within the COVID Treatment Center. Here, the patient is immediately examined and cared for by medical staff, who will then transfer him/her to a private room, where the medical team at the Treatment Center will be able to give the patient the necessary care.

What are the concrete needs identified to be able to respond to this epidemic in Africa?

African countries need reinforcement in terms of medical staff qualified in the management of such epidemics, reinforcement in terms of medical materials and equipment, as well as medications. Additionally, for social distancing and self-prevention measures to be effective, the population must receive financial support to enable them to fully adhere to these measures.

What can we specifically do to overcome this virus on the continent?

International assistance must be mobilized from the governments of the affected countries to provide all the resources that will be needed. Countries that have already passed the epidemic peak must show international solidarity to contain the epidemic in African countries.

Many thanks to Nicolas Mouly for this interview and to all the ALIMA health workers who are currently fighting against COVID-19 and saving patients’ lives.


Cover photo: © Olivier Papegnies / ALIMA

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