AFRICA – Africa is on course to progress out of the COVID-19 pandemic phase in 2022 due to improved capacity to manage COVID-19 cases, increased availability of trained health workers and access to medical supplies.
The continent is expected to move towards a situation where it will be managing the virus over the long term if the current trends in vaccination campaigns continue.
When enough people gain immune protection from vaccination and natural infection, there will be less transmission and COVID-19-related hospitalization or deaths even as the virus continues to circulate.
Over the last two years, the continent has witnessed four waves of COVID-19 where each had more total new cases than the previous one.
“Each subsequent wave has triggered a pandemic response that has been more effective than the previous, with each surge shorter by 23% on average from the one before,” reported the World Health Organization (WHO).
Although Africa still lags behind on vaccination, with only 11% of the adult population fully vaccinated, the continent now has a steady supply of doses flowing in.
Vaccination progress in Kenya
For instance, Kenya has administered about three million Covid-19 vaccines since the launch of the countrywide mass vaccination campaign in early February last year.
The Ministry of Health said the exercise has been successful so far, with a daily average of more than 200,000 people being vaccinated.
“As of Saturday, 14.2 million persons above 18 years have received at least one dose and 6.9 million are now fully vaccinated,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.
Uganda vaccination drive targets 2.6 million people
In recent events, the Ugandan health ministry has set 2.6 million as the target number of people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the districts of Mpigi, Gomba, Mityana among others in an operation dubbed ‘accelerated mass COVID-19 vaccination’.
The State Minister of Health in charge of General Duties Anifa Kawooya launched the operation at Mpigi central market ground targeting all people above 18 years
“The ministry has secured enough vaccines and expects leaders to mobilize people to turn up at the vaccination centers to receive the first, second and booster doses,” Anifa Kawooya said.
Current COVID-19 Progress in Africa
According to WHO, African countries have stepped up their efforts on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and surveillance to return the continent back to normalcy.
Moreover, the continent’s capacity to manage COVID-19 cases has gradually improved with the increased availability of trained health workers, oxygen and other medical supplies.
The number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds have increased across the continent, from 8 per 1 million people in 2020 to 20 today while the number of oxygen production plants in Africa has increased from 68 to 115.
To date, around 672 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been received in Africa, of which 65% were facilitated by COVAX, 29% via bilateral deals and 6% though the African Union’s Vaccines Acquisition Trust.
WHO has increased the number of laboratories able to detect COVID-19 from two to more than 900 today and is bolstering genetic sequencing efforts in Africa through several initiatives.
The organization is also spearheading an initiative which is conducting mobile antigen-based rapid testing in communities in 15 countries, as well as supplying masks, hand gels and other infection prevention tools.
WHO continues to support countries through procuring 8.5 million Covid-19 tests, 433 million vaccines and boosting laboratory capacity to detect Covid-19 with the aim of controlling the pandemic.
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