Johannesburg, May 21 : Africa has the highest global mortality rate in patients with Covid-19 who are critically ill, than studies reported from Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, according to an observational research published in the medical journal The Lancet.
The African Covid-19 Critical Care Outcomes Study, co-led by various researchers including from the University of Cape Town, is based on data from 64 hospitals in 10 countries.AA
The findings showed that among 3,077 critically ill and patients hospitalised in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, and South Africa between May and December 2020, 48.2 per cent died within 30 days, compared with a global average of 31.5 per cent.
The high death risk was found in only those with critical illness, overall, the numbers of Covid cases and deaths from the infectious disease are lower in Africa than other countries, the study noted.
The comorbidities of HIV/AIDS, diabetes, chronic liver disease, and kidney disease, and severity of organ dysfunction at admission, delayed access to high-care units and intensive care units were the drivers of high mortality.
In addition, shortage of critical care resources and underuse of those coupled withA inadequate skill sets among the medical practitioners can also be the reason.A
The patient access to interventions was between seven-times lower (for dialysis and proning) and 14-times lower (for ECMO) than what is required.
Dialysis was available in 39 (68 per cent) of 57 sites and was offered to only 330 (10 per cent) of 3073 patients.
Yet, acute kidney injury could occur in over 90 per cent of patients with Covid-19 admitted to intensive care units, with one in four patients who have been ventilated requiring renal replacement therapy.
"Our hypothesis was that critically ill patients with Covid-19 might have worse health outcomes in Africa than other continents because the ability to provide sufficient care is compromised by having a small workforce, having a low number of intensive care facilities, and the scarcity of critical care resources," the researchers said.
Further, the high virulence of Coronavirus and its variants may also have played a role in increasing mortality rates in Africa.