The West African sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has made available a number of medical supplies to all 15-member states currently battling the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a communique from ECOWAS.
It said its specialised health institution responsible for coordinating the response at the regional level, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), has already purchased and dispatched 30,500 diagnostic test kits, 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) (Coveralls, Aprons, gowns, gloves, goggles, boots) and 740,000 prescription tablets (Chloroquine and Azithromycin) to all member states.
Meanwhile, it disclosed that orders have been placed to acquire for member states, 240,000 diagnostic kits, 240,000 extraction kits, and 250,000 viral sample transport equipment.
The others include 285,100 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 268,1000 masks for medical personnel (face masks, surgical masks, full face masks), 120 ventilators and Several thousand litres of alcohol gel and disinfectants.
These measures come as ECOWAS says it continues to closely monitor the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in the world and particularly in West Africa.
It said as of April 5, 2020, the 15 member states affected by the pandemic with 1,739 confirmed cases of contamination, have recorded 55 deaths and 328 persons who have fully recovered. “It should be noted that approximately 95 percent of deaths are patients with comorbid conditions.”
The Commission says it stands in solidarity with member states and welcomes all the measures already taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and care for the sick. “It remains committed to supporting member states in the fight against this pandemic. In this regard, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), its specialised health Institution responsible for coordinating the response at the regional level, has drawn up a Regional Strategic Plan with all member states.”
It was to address the emergency at hand, that ECOWAS, with the assistance from international partners, have acquired medical supplies and equipment essential for the fight against the pandemic, for member countries.
Furthermore, WAHO is also working, in close collaboration with the specialised services in 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 mobilisation, 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.”
The Commission said it is working to complement its intervention as part of a Short-and Medium-Term State Assistance Plan (humanitarian assistance and support for economic recovery) while urging people to continue to implement the measures recommended by the health authorities, and to comply with the prescribed hygiene guidelines.