Just one in every seven cases of COVID-19 infection on the African continent is diagnosed correctly, a trend that the World Health Organization hopes to reverse by applying a “ring strategy” approach to the outbreak in affected communities.
The new approach is based on models used successfully to curb the transmission of Ebola and smallpox in the past, said WHO. Countries participating in the US$1.8 million effort include Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Republic of the Congo, Senegal and Zambia.
The ring approach means that each time a confirmed COVID-19 case is detected, health officials will target people living inside a radius of 100 meters from the location where COVID infection was found. Each household within the circle will receive kits with face masks and hand sanitizers, while anyone who tests positive will be treated at home or transferred to a designated COVID-19 treatment center.
“With limited testing, we’re still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa. Most tests are carried out on people with symptoms, but much of the transmission is driven by asymptomatic people, so what we see could just be the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the Africa director for WHO.
As of October 10, the number of COVID-19 infections on the African continent is estimated at 59 million. That’s seven times higher than the more than 8 million cases reported.
Image: WHO file