COVID-19 Africa Updates
To help you stay informed on the latest developments surrounding COVID-19 in Africa, we have created a list of resources and news reports. Updated daily as the situation evolves.
Coronavirus is a real and urgent threat to the world, and especially the African continent. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Africa will likely be the next epicenter of the pandemic likely resulting in the death of 300,000 people and poverty for 30 million.
Researchers from Imperial College London have predicted that with the absence of any intervention, 1,044,858,000 people could be infected in Sub-Saharan Africa by COVID-19 resulting in 2,483,000 deaths. With the use of testing, isolation, and social distancing measures, the transmission could be slowed or suppressed. These same researchers warn that the impact on healthcare systems worldwide could be huge- particularly in low income settings.
In Africa, health experts have encouraged leaders to take heed to these warnings. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is about one doctor for every 5,000 people (as opposed to 300 in Europe). In most African countries there are about 5 intensive care beds for every one million people- for comparison, in Europe there are around 4,000 beds for every million people.
With fewer health professionals and kits, lack of financial support and overcrowding, the continent’s already fragile healthcare system will likely face many obstacles in the fight against COVID-19. Most frighteningly, the burden created by the virus may prevent care for difficult childbirth or other illnesses such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis.
We want to help you stay up to date on the current situation in Africa- particularly the countries that TAP works directly in.
Past pandemics show that the impact will be far worse in the developing world. Between 25 million and 100 million people died in the 1918 flu pandemic. Where Ghana is now, the Gold Coast had a population of roughly 2 million at the time; 100,000 people — 5 percent of the entire population — perished. Currently, health care infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa is already weak. The United States has roughly one intensive care bed for every 2,800 people; in Uganda, it’s close to one ICU bed for every million people.
To help you stay informed on the latest surrounding COVID-19 in Africa, we have created a list of resources and news reports to be updated daily as the current situation evolves.
- BBC Africa Live Updates
- Coronavirus in Africa Tracker
- WHO Africa Dashboard
- COVID-19 Tracker
- Additional Reading: Africa is woefully ill-equipped to cope with Covid-19
- Additional Reading: The pandemic is about to devastate the developing world
- Additional Reading: In Nairobi, quarantine is a luxury few can afford
Prevention is Critical:
There simply isn't health infrastructure to handle the Coronavirus. There are fewer than 2,000 functional ventilators in 41 African countries, according to the WHO, while the total number of available intensive care unit beds in 43 countries on the continent is less than 5,000. This is about five beds per 1 million people, compared to 4,000 beds per 1 million people in Europe. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has issued a warning that even with social distancing, 123 million cases of coronavirus could appear in Africa causing 300,000 people to die.
- Malawi has 25 ICU beds nationally, for a population of 18M. That's 1 bed per 720,000 residents.
- Uganda has 55 ICU beds nationally, for a population of 42.8M. That's 1 bed per 778,181 residents.
- Kenya has 518 ICU beds nationally, for a population of 49.7M. That's 1 bed per 95,945 residents. However, 439 of those beds are already occupied.
- Togo has 1 hospital bed for every 1,429 residents. Of the nearly eight million people living in Togo, 70% do not have access to healthcare. In Lome, the capital, there are only four doctors per 10,000 residents and one nurse for every 13 beds.
- Ghana has 200 ICU beds prepped nationally for COVID, for a population of 28.9M. That's 1 bed per 144,500 residents.
- Tanzania has 38 ICU beds nationally, for a population of 57.3M. That's 1 bed per 1,507,894 residents.
If you are curious how we are responding to this crisis, learn more here.