Why Africa records lowest COVID-19 cases, deaths, by WHO
• More experts back use of chloroquine in managing coronavirus
• ‘Women with virus can breastfeed their babies’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that Africa is doing better than other continents in the management of the coronavirus pandemic with lowest number of cases and deaths so far recorded.
Figures it released yesterday showed that Africa has 1.5 per cent of global reported cases of COVID-19 and less than 0.1 per cent of deaths.
Latest COVID-19 Situation Report–127 (Data as received by WHO by 10:00 CEST, May 26, 2020) showed that Africa has 83,044 cases and 2,214 deaths compared to 5,404,512 global cases and 343,514 deaths.
America has highest number of cases with 2,454,452 and 143,739 deaths, followed by Europe with 2,041,705 cases and 173,213 deaths; Eastern Mediterranean with 438,900 cases 11,293 deaths; South-East Asia with 210,273 cases and 6,140 deaths; and Western Pacific with 175,397 cases and 6,902 deaths.
Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the media briefing on May 25, 2020, said, “So far, although around half of the countries in the region have community transmissions, concentrated mainly in major cities, Africa is the least-affected region globally in terms of the number of cases and deaths reported to WHO.
“Africa has 1.5 per cent of the world’s reported cases of COVID-19 and less than 0.1 per cent of the deaths. Of course, these numbers don’t paint the full picture, because testing capacity in Africa is still being ramped up and there is a likelihood that some cases may be missed.”
However, a professor of pharmacology and pioneer Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Professor Charles Wambebe and Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor, have explained why chloroquine should be useful in the management of COVID-19.
Wambebe said, “From theoretical considerations, chloroquine should be useful in the management of COVID-19. Firstly, chloroquine has antiviral activity. The Chinese scientists confirmed it before they started using it to treat their patients. Secondly chloroquine has immune-modulatory property.
“There is a current trial involving hydroxychloroquine in Australia which involved about 2000 patients. It is called Ascot Trial, which is still in progress.”
Meanwhile, the WHO and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have explained why women who have contracted COVID-19 could breastfeed their babies.
A new report they released yesterday in conjunction with the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) encouraged women to continue breastfeeding their children even if they have the virus.
“While researchers continue to test breast milk from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, current evidence indicate that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding or by giving breast milk that has been expressed by a mother who have COVID-19.
“The benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of illness associated with the virus. It is not safer to give infant formula milk,” it noted.