THE West African Health Organisation,WAHO,has said a total of 10,000 deaths arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have been recorded so far in West Africa.
Also,the regional health organisation said about 660,000 cases of COVID-19 infections have been recorded in the region.
Director General of WAHO,Professor Stanley Okolo,who said this in Abuja, during the 22 Ordinary Session of Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS,said the organisation has established COVID-19 test kits production centre in the region.
Speaking further at the health experts’ meeting,Prof. Okolo said the test kits produced in the centre would only be for the 15 countries of the region.
“One of the earliest decisions that was taken by the Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Health for COViD was adopting a proposal that was made by WAHO,that we should have essential health services co-ordinator national panels for COVID-19 response.
“It is really critical that we look at how we utilize the lessons of COVID-19 response in our areas to strengthen all some of these issues,”he charged member nations.
He spoke further:”I am sure that every member state and every member here has been a beneficiary or has seen the response regionally that was undertaken by WAHO.
” With the support provided to us by our various partners too numerous to mention, including internal raising of funds,with WAHO and ECOWAS Commission,we have been able to support countries in their response efforts. We surpassed the target that was raised by the ministers at their COVID-19 planning response meeting in Bamako,Mali,on the 14th of February,2020,when they set a target of 51 million dollars as the amount that we should try as much as possible to raise to support the regional efforts.
“We were able not only to surpass that but also,to distribute over 100,000 of medical materials of different,over a million items of PPEs and over one million items of diagnostic materials and that is quite different or separate from what we had already planned in terms of projection of what we are doing to future pull the region regarding pandemics.”
He said the group provided many assistance to member states during the height of the pandemic in the areas of Personal Protective Equipment,PPE and diagnostic materials.
Okolo,who said the region had made tremendous progress in terms of production of PPEs and supply to member states, however,said there were still areas where the organisation needed to step up against the pandemic.
He expressed sadness over some recent developments in the region, notable among which he named as,”The unfutunatnate attacks on women and children in Niger and building collapse in Nigeria.”
The Ordinary Session of West Africa Health Organization, is an annual meeting by the 15 member states. During an sessions, health experts brainstorm on health-related issues in the region and possible solutions
The ongoing session of the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS, is focused on discussing how the region can surmount future pandemics.