It is about two years ago that SARS-CoV2 was diagnosed in China and then spread to the rest of the world causing millions of deaths. The number of cases and deaths are most probably under reported from countries which do not have a robust vital events registration system.
A publication from India estimates that the deaths in India due to COVID-19 were probably ten times the official deaths reported. This under reporting was not deliberate but due to weakness of the reporting system in such a huge country. Similarly, many scientists and Public Health experts have also expressed doubts about COVID-19 deaths in most of Africa. Most deaths in Africa in both urban and rural areas are reported by local Chiefs and Medical Doctors who may not have access to accurate diagnostic tests to determine the accurate cause of death.
The disease has behaved more unpredictably than what most experts expected. This is because of virus mutations which have caused the virus to be more transmissible than the original strain. The Delta variant was more transmissible than the original strain. A new coronavirus variant “Omicron” has been detected in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province. This latest variant is the most heavily mutated version discovered so far. It is early days and the confirmed cases are still mostly concentrated in one province in South Africa, but there are hints it may have spread further. And so, it remains as important as ever to stay vigilant and know how to protect yourself.
Data from Mauritius shows that the daily number of confirmed cases is now rising.
The vaccination coverage in Mauritius is high compared to the rest of Africa with at least 70% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. Mauritius has now instituted a lockdown to stem the rise in cases.
In Europe, there is a surge of cases and various countries such as Austria and Netherlands are instituting control measures such the curfew to stem the number of rising cases.
The situation in East Africa is difficult to predict since the number of daily reported cases have remained low. However, the Ministry of Health in Kenya has predicted a surge in late November and in January of 2022. The Government of Kenya has lifted the curfew however other measures such as wearing of mask, limiting number of people in halls are still in place. The Government has also authorized vaccination in children over the age of 15 years and is planning to start giving booster doses in January.
The number of cases may be going down in Africa, however our members must follow the Governments’ directive in containing the virus. The measures are simple:
1. Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces
Face masks have become essential accessories in protecting yourself and others from contracting COVID-19. By wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose, you will reduce the risk of serving as the source of disease spread by trapping your own droplets in the mask, and also reduce the risk of getting sick via droplets that contain the coronavirus by blocking access to your own airways.
2. Have good ventilation – studies have found that outdoor settings with enough space to distance and good ventilation will reduce risk of exposure. There is up to 80% less transmission of the virus happening outdoors versus indoors.
3. Wash hands frequently. It’s especially important to wash:
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before touching your face
- After using the restroom/washrooms
- After leaving a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling your mask
- After changing a diaper
- After caring for someone who’s sick
- After touching animals or pets
4. Practice social distancing
Since close person-to-person contact appears to be the main source of transmission, social distancing remains a key way to mitigate spread. It is recommended to maintain a distance of approximately 2 meters from others in public places. This distance will help you avoid direct contact with respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.
5. Get vaccinated
All vaccines are effective, and members should get any vaccine available in the country. The Governments have done the best to get them. We do not have the luxury of choosing the vaccine we think are “good”.
Vaccines may not be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19, however the severity of disease is reduced.
Please follow the 7 Step Prevention – Click here
CHB – YOUR HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY
CENTRAL HEALTH BOARD OF AFRICA FEDERATION
29th November 2021