Health: Six Central, West African Countries on track to Control Covid-19 Pandemic

As part of a restitution workshop, the ARIACOV project emerged to support African response to the COVID 19 epidemic held on October 10 and 11, 2022 in Yaoundé.

Despite the obstacles linked in particular to the significant inequalities in access to vaccination and the weakness of its health system, Africa in general and the six countries in its western and central part; Benin, Ghana, the DRC, Senegal, the Republic of Guinea and Cameroon have withstood the storm of the COVID-19 epidemic with resilience and selflessness. 

Increased vigilance must therefore be maintained, to continue on the right track of controlling the pandemic. It is on this note of hope that the forty experts of several nationalities engaged in the framework of the support project for the African response to the COVID-19 epidemic (ARIACOV).

The work session was an opportunity to take stock of the disease on the African continent. Statistical data from the presentation by the WHO representative at this restitution workshop were evocative.

As of September 28, 2022, the world had more than 612 million people infected with the coronavirus; and of the five waves of the known epidemic, Africa accounted for only 2% of the cases of contamination.

In terms of disease-related morbidity, more than 6 million deaths were recorded worldwide in the same period, including 3% for the continent: more than 250,000 deaths. 

In terms of vaccination, barely 11% of the adult population of the continent had been vaccinated as of October 5, 2022. Far from the 50% recommended by country by the WHO. The UN agency specifies that southern Africa remains the most affected with a 74% contamination rate. 

Data that has been put in place since June 2020 to the credit of the ARIACOV project. The Project  which was financed by the AFD, coordinated by the IRD and implemented in the six countries mentioned above, was with the assistance of their laboratories and national research structures. 

The project has targeted four major objectives, namely: to strengthen the molecular and serological diagnostic capacities of the SARS-COV-2 virus; conduct operational research in epidemiology and human and social sciences; to support and train professionals in the challenges posed by this epidemic; feed back the results of research to national and regional public health actors; finally, increase the mechanisms aimed at inducing the African population to massively adhere to vaccination, which remains the most indicated means by specialists to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

In the case of Cameroon, which hosted its two-day meeting, the epidemiological situation shows a downward curve. From September 08 to September 14, 2022, 123,629 cases of COVID 19 were notified. For 1,692 deaths. 

The hospitalization rate is less than 1%. The public health emergency operations coordination center CCOUSP created on March 12, 2020 continues, in conjunction with 45 laboratories scattered across the ten regions of the country, including 26 public and 19 private laboratories, to ensure epidemiological surveillance.

The ARIACOV project was led by the research center on emerging and re-emerging diseases (CREMER), the operational health research division (DROS), the ARNS/MIE Cameroon site and the Catholic University of Africa Central (UCAC). 

All of its structures have been called upon to produce public health data through operational research. The research she is looking for will continue at the level of academic institutions to help deal with possible health crises.


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