African nations urged to enhance Covid surveillance measures

Addis Ababa, Jan 24 : The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) ha warned countries to continue enhancing their surveillance measures against the Covid-19 pandemic amid the rapid spike fresh cases across the continent.

"All member states should continue to enhance their surveillance to include Covid-19 and severe acute respiratory infections, which includes adding questions about travel, contact history, and testing for Covid-19 to existing influenza surveillance systems, and notifying healthcare facilities to immediately inform local public health," Xinhua news agency quoted the Africa CDC as saying in its situation update issued on Saturday.

African Union (AU) member states also urged to perform contact tracing of confirmed cases based on transmission type and country capacity; as well as to notify and routinely share with WHO and Africa CDC data regarding suspected or confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries, tests conducted and healthcare workers infected to continually inform these and other updates.

As of Saturday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the African continent reached 3,391,198, as the death toll rose to 83,859.

The most affected African countries in terms of caseload include South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, according to the agency.

It added that the majority of AU member states, accounting for 86 per cent, continue to report community transmission.

The Africa CDC also advised "to put in place or strengthen existing public health and social measures as cases start to rise especially through the holiday".

African countries have also been urged to continue to guide the general public about seeking immediate medical care and informing healthcare providers about recent travel or contact history in anyone who develops symptoms of severe respiratory illness.

According to the Africa CDC, some 21 countries are reporting case fatality rates higher than the global case fatality rate of 2.2 per cent.

The countries include Sahrawi Arab Republic at 11.8 per cent, Sudan 6.1 per cent, Egypt 5.5 per cent, Liberia 4.4 per cent, Mali 4 per cent, Chad 3.9 per cent, Niger 3.4 per cent, the Gambia 3.3 per cent, Tunisia 3.2 per cent, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 3 per cent, and Eswatini 2.9 per cent, it was noted.

Countries reporting the highest incidence of new cases per 100,000 population the past week include South Africa 183, Seychelles 174, Tunisia 166, Eswatini 108, and Cape Verde 93, it was noted

Last week, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and Africa CDC through the AU secured the first tranche of 270 million Covid-19 vaccines for the continent.



Source: IANS