Exactly two years after the first COVID-19 was confirmed on the African continent, the outlook for 2022 remains positive in terms of getting the pandemic under control, according to the World Health Organization.
“The African continent has gotten smarter, faster and better at responding to each new surge in cases of COVID-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in the most recent WHO press conference. “Against the odds, including huge inequities in access to vaccination, we’ve weathered the COVID-19 storm with resilience and determination, informed by Africa’s long history and experience with controlling outbreaks.”
While only 11% of the adult population is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, access to the vaccines has improved. African nations have strengthened their intensive care unit capacities and their supplies of oxygen, though the cost and availability of oxygen remain complicated. And the number of labs able to detect COVID-19 has gone from two to more than 900.
Still, more than 242,000 people have died because of the virus since African nations began their battle with COVID-19. The economic fallout has pushed up to 40 million people into extreme poverty on the continent, according to World Bank numbers.
“Although COVID-19 will be with us for the long-term, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Moeti. “This year we can end the disruption and destruction the virus has left in its path, and gain back control over our lives.”
Image: WHO file