Lack of funding impedes fighting COVID-19 as cases surge in Africa

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Friday said there is a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases in seven African countries, but little funding to stop the trend.

In a statement released in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the IFRC said the surges in infections have been reported in Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Mohammed Mukhier, the IFRC’s regional director for Africa, said lower levels of transmission data have created a perception that the African region has not been hit hard by the outbreak.

“Since the outset of this pandemic, not enough attention has been paid to the evolution of this virus on the African continent. Without adequate funding, we are unable to respond to the needs of the communities we serve or address the gaps and challenges of this response.

“The gains that have been made over the last year are at serious risk of being lost, if funding is not made available to help us continue to reach the most vulnerable and affected communities in Africa,” Mukhier added.

The IFRC noted that there are weak surveillance mechanisms, weak testing capacity, insufficient protective gears, and medical equipment, including hospital beds, oxygen, and ambulance services. There is also a challenge of availability and access to COVID-19 vaccines.