By Sunday Ehigiator
The World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, has revealed that the high rate of malnutrition, HIV/AID, and Cholera among children in Africa may make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 pandemic, which is gradually spreading to the region.
She identified early testing of the virus as one major issue the world was still facing, revealing that the organisation was seriously considering and investigating speculations that heat waves and humidity in most part of eastern and western Africa had enabled the region have reasonable control over the virus and its citizens less affected.
She made this known yesterday during a live conference on Twitter, where journalists all over the world were presented with the opportunity to ask her questions relating to the spread of the virus in Africa.
She said: “Africa has the highest rate of malnutrition, HIV/AIDs, and Cholera, especially amongst children. “This could make African children more vulnerable should we fail to take serious all necessary preventive measures to contain the spread.
“This is why we all have to come together, including the private and public sector and rise up to the occasion. Another issue is related to the unavailability of water, soap and sanitisers in the rural parts of Africa. We are in partnership with several NGOs and government. They together with our team would try all we can to ensure these facilities are provided to those areas. We further call on private bodies and individuals to support the cause.
“One issue that stands out as a major issue all over the world remains early testing and availability of test kits. I know that a lot of experts are working on various text kits to speed up the testing period for better effectiveness.
The aim is to be able to test and reveal the virus even before patient starts to exhibit symptoms. And I am particularly proud of how far we have gone. When the pandemic first broke, there were only four countries were you can conduct the test, now we have about 40 countries. Also, there is an improvement in the international relations of specimens for testing.”
Answering questions whether heat and humidity could be a major reason why West Africans, and other hot parts of America had recorded low cases, she said, “I must say that we are still studying the situation. As you know, this is a very new virus. We are still trying to understand the behaviors of the virus. But I must acknowledge that we have a distinct flu season in the east and West Africa, but we would have to wait till the cold season to study how the virus reacts before we can know for sure.”