Addis Ababa : The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for greater access to COVID-19 detection, testing, and care among vulnerable populations grappling with the impacts of protracted conflict and humanitarian emergencies across Africa.
According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, COVID-19 has exacerbated existing humanitarian challenges, particularly with regards to access to health services in many countries in the region.
“With the pandemic, we have seen some humanitarian operations delayed due to lockdowns, curfews and the restrictions of movement for both personnel and cargo vital for COVID-19 response,” she added.
Crowded settings such as displacement camps can heighten the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to difficult access to clean water, leading to inadequate hygiene, and where physical distancing is almost impossible, the Director elaborated.
She further urged the humanitarian community and Member States to increase support to the millions of people in dire need of assistance in the region.
“If we don’t step up health services, including testing, tracing, isolation and care for people already living in precarious settings and displacement camps, COVID-19 could spark untold tragedy,” Dr Moeti warned.
WHO has developed guidance on adapting COVID-19 mitigation in camp or camp-like settings, recommending health screenings for people arriving at collective sites and temporary isolation centers for suspected cases, it was indicated.
Source: Ethiopia News agency