The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), test kits and medication to its member countries amid the novel Coronavirus pandemic to help combat the outbreak.
As of April 5, 2020, the member states are affected by the pandemic with 1,739 confirmed cases of contamination, 55 deaths and 328 persons who have fully recovered with approximately 95% of deaths being patients with underlying conditions.
In this regard, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), its specialized health Institution responsible for
coordinating the response at the regional level has drawn up a Regional Strategic Plan with all Member States.
Thus, to address the emergency at hand, ECOWAS has immediately made available financial support from its own resources, in addition to assistance from international partners, for the purchase of medical supplies and equipment essential for the fight against the pandemic.
“WAHO has already purchased and dispatched to the 15 Member States, 30,500 diagnostic test kits, 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Coveralls, Aprons, gowns, gloves, goggles, boots) and 740,000 prescription tablets (Chloroquine and Azithromycin),” ECOWAS said in a statement.
Additionally, orders have been placed to acquire for the Member States, 240,000 diagnostic kits, 240,000 extraction kits, 250,000 viral sample transport equipment, 285,100 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 268,1000 masks for medical personnel (face masks, surgical masks, full face masks), 120 ventilators, 7,000 litres of alcohol gel and disinfectants.
WAHO is also working, in close collaboration with the specialized services in the Member States, to deploy personnel and epidemiological surveillance and data collection tools, strengthen the capacity of reference laboratories and train technical personnel.
ECOWAS and its Institution, WAHO, continue both internal and external resource mobilization, with a view to increasing the availability of medical materials and equipment necessary to prevent, monitor and combat this pandemic.
This will expand its scope of support to supplement Member States’ own efforts.
In addition, ECOWAS is working to complement its intervention as part of a Short and Medium Term State Assistance Plan (humanitarian assistance and support for economic recovery).
ECOWAS says it remains committed to supporting the Member States in the fight against this pandemic.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Commission is taking this opportunity to urge people to continue to implement the measures recommended by the Health Authorities, and to comply with the prescribed hygiene guidelines.
By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH