Coronavirus infections in Africa are rapidly rising. Its weak health systems may buckle
Added 03-27-20 04:04:02am EST - “COVID-19 may compound difficulties in a part of the world that's long? grappled with? conflict, humanitarian disaster? and infrastructure inadequacies.” - News.yahoo.com
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LAGOS, Nigeria – After President Donald Trump touted an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus, thousands of Nigerians started taking the medicine, some of them overdosing in a rush to "prevent" infection.
In Mali, there is an estimated one ventilator per 1 million people – about 20 in all, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Infection, which serves 31 of Africa's 54 nations. The devices are critical in helping to prevent the respiratory failure that has contributed to a worldwide coronavirus death toll of more than 23,000.
Kenya, a country of more than 50 million people, has 550 intensive-care-unit beds. Many sub-Saharan nations have few medical workers; some have no isolation wards.
As of March 27, the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent after Asia had just over 2,600 cases in 46 countries of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to the African Union, a pan-African organization that supports political and economic integration among its 55 member states that have highly varied populations, geographies, cultures, social mores and economies.
And even as the most modern and well-funded hospitals around the world are bracing for an onslaught of cases that will require hard-to-get life-saving equipment, public health officials worry that Africa's relatively weak health systems, already disproportionately affected by Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, could be overwhelmed. This could further compound problems in a part of the world that has long grappled with conflict, humanitarian disaster and infrastructure inadequacies.
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