Africa’s coronavirus cases to date now total over 1.8 million, according to the latest figures released on Saturday by the World Health Organization’s Africa office.
At least 44,471 people have died from the virus across the continent, while nearly 1.5 million more have recovered, according to the data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Regionally, Southern Africa has 820,036 confirmed cases, North Africa 556,510, East Africa 224,614, West Africa 193,145, and Central Africa has 61,091.
South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the continent, with a total of 734,175 cases to date, including 675,593 recoveries and 19,749 deaths.
Last week, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said at a virtual news briefing that the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to key health services on the continent, raising fears that some of Africa’s main health problems will worsen.
“As health resources are heavily focused on COVID-19, coupled with fear and restrictions affecting people’s daily lives, vulnerable populations face an increased risk of falling through the cracks,” Moeti said.
“We need to strengthen our health systems to better cope with future crises. A robust health system is a foundation for emergency preparedness and response. As countries ease restrictions related to COVID-19, we must not let the pandemic resurface,” Moeti added.
Even before the pandemic, maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa was at an unacceptable level, accounting for around two-thirds of maternal deaths worldwide in 2017, according to the WHO.
WHO Africa said it has advised countries on how to ensure continuity of other essential health services by optimizing parameters of service delivery, redistributing resources for health workers, and proposing ways to ensure the continuous supply of drugs and other required goods.
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