The African Union and African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held an Emergency Ministerial meeting on COVID-19 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat addressed the objective of the meeting which was to anticipate the protection of Africa by considering the actions aimed at strengthening the preparedness and response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to Mahamat, the epidemic could have a very negative effect on Africa which is at risk if preventive and control measures are not adopted quickly.
“We all know that if drastic preventive and control measures are not taken urgently, the economic, social and even security consequences of the epidemic could be felt on a very large scale; and our dear Continent, Africa, is particularly at risk, given its relatively fragile health systems, concomitant epidemics affecting at present our Continent, lack of resources, population mobility and other vulnerabilities,” Mahamat stated.
World Health Organization Director, General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave a warning at the meeting saying that the increasing signs of transmission of COVID -19 outside of China indicate a narrow window of opportunity to contain the virus outbreak globally.
He called on all countries to urgently invest in preparedness, stressing on the need to take advantage of the opportunity to attack the virus with a sense of urgency.
According to Ghebreyesus, WHO Africa Regional Office in partnership with Africa CDC is working hard to prepare African countries for any potential outbreak as they have published a Strategic Preparedness and Response plan with a call for 675 million dollars to support countries especially those that are most vulnerable.
He is quoted saying, “We’ve also shipped more than 30,000 sets of personal protective equipment to six countries in Africa, and we’re ready to ship almost 60,000 more sets to 19 countries in the coming weeks.”
The first COVID-19 outbreak in Africa was recorded in Egypt.
Mahamat expressed his solidarity with Egypt and praised the government on having quickly detected and isolated the first case of the virus in the continent, thanks to its effective surveillance system.