Aminat Isah, Abuja
The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has disclosed that not less than 50 million dollars is needed by West African countries to put in place, critical personal protection equipment, laboratory supplies, communication and coordination strategies for Coronavirus outbreak.
The Director General, WAHO, Professor Stanley Okolo, gave the hint at a tripartite press briefing on the outcome of the emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health ECOWAS on regional preparedness and response to the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic in China which was held in Bamako, Republic of Mali, on 14 February 2020.
According to Okolo, only six countries: Nigeria, Burkina faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal out of 15 countries in the region have the capacity to diagnose and contain the virus in case of eventual outbreak, with each country with each having at suspected one case each that was tested negative.
Okoli further explained that the regional cost planning strategy is for the management of the epidemic as not all suspending travel from china, but need funding as they may not be able to deal with Coronavirus outbreak due to lack of funds needed for the purchase of reagents among others needed for quarantining.
The minister of state for health Olurunnimbe Mamora speaking on the outcome of the emergency meeting said ministers of member countries have resolved to urgently strengthen critical national capacities for diagnosing and managing cases; Develop a strategic costed regional preparedness plan based on Member States’ priorities for governments, partners, and the private sector to support Promote multi-sectoral national efforts using one-health approach to maximise impact
Mamora noted that this us a time for solidarity as there is no need for fear, adding that in the case of Nigerians in China, not only Nigerians are in Wuhan, and who ever is travelling out of China is quarantined first and if infected are not allowed to travel to avoid further spread.
The Minister also said Strengthen coordination, communication, and collaboration amongst Member States in preparedness for Covid-19 epidemic, including cross-border collaboration as a way of strengthening quarantine among member states that may not have the capacity to do so.
“Enhance surveillance and management measures for Covid-19, particularly at entry points – air, land and sea Step up communication to ensure that the public receives accurate, appropriate and timely information regarding the epidemic
“Implement robust measures to assure availability of critical medical supplies, including laboratory materials, and personal protective equipment in the region
“Work closely with the relevant authorities of National Governments and the Chinese Government to monitor and assure the health situation of our citizens resident in China”, the minister said.
Nigeria has the highest number of suspected cases with a total of five so far.
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