Africa director for the WHO, Matshidiso Moeti says the pandemic is having a knock-on effect on other vital health services in Africa. FILE PHOTO

Covid-19 affecting other vital health services, says WHO

“While Covid-19 is not overwhelming African health facilities in the way … first predicted … it is really stretching already resourced-limited health systems.”

CAPE TOWN – A preliminary analysis by WHO indicates that the coronavirus is hitting other health services in Africa really hard.

 

In an online press conference on Thursday, Africa director for the WHO, Matshidiso Moeti said the pandemic is having a knock-on effect on other vital health services in Africa as countries are forced to redirect already stretched resources.

 

“From January to August, an extra 1.3 million children aged under one missed their first doses of the measles vaccine, compared with the same period last year,”

 

“So while Covid-19 is not overwhelming African health facilities in the way … first predicted … it is really stretching already resourced-limited health systems,” Moeti said.

 

SEE ALSO: COVID-19 HEALTH SERVICES DISRUPTIONS IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES

 

Moeti  added that immunisation campaigns against measles and polio had restarted but more needed to be done to protect the gains made in previous years in improving access to health services and outcomes on the continent.

 

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch says the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in health services that require urgent attention in many African countries.

 

The African governments should urgently address healthcare deficiencies, says the  international human rights body, in order to meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“The current global health crisis from the spread of the novel coronavirus has brought to the fore the need for African Union (AU) member states to carefully analyze the current state of their healthcare infrastructure and make meaningful investments to improve access to quality health care,” said Carine Kaneza Nantulya, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

 

Africa has recorded at least 1.8 million cases, with 43,700 deaths, according to the WHO. Lockdowns imposed by countries to halt the spread of the virus in May, June and July contributed to a more than 50% drop in services monitored by WHO.

 

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