The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says it has instituted various actions to support it’s member states fight the novel coronavirus which is fast spreading across the globe.
According to a statement signed by the President of the ECOWAS, H. E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Organization, through the West African Health Organization (WAHO) has been “sensitizing the member states and collaborating with them and partners especially WHO on the strategy and action plan to prevent and contain the pandemic in our region”.
In February alone, ECOWAS, through WAHO, trained lab practitioners on how to diagnose patients who have tested positive to the virus.
“These included training of laboratory practitioners on diagnostic processes and an Emergency Meeting of ECOWAS Health Ministers to agree on regional approach with strategic decisions on what Member States should do and what should be done regionally. At the end of the training of the laboratory practitioners, each country was given 100 test kits except Nigeria which was given 200 test kits,” the statement read.
Aside finalising on a Regional Strategic Plan with an indicative cost of US$51 million, the Organization “accelerated the procurement process of support to Member States in terms of provision of critically needed supplies such as diagnostic kits, viral transport media and personal protective equipment (PPEs). The Commission provided additional fund to procure on an emergency basis 50,000 test kits and other critically needed equipment to be distributed to member states,” in March.
ECOWAS concluded its statement by pledging its continuous support to its members to “win the war against the pandemic”.
Joint preparedness plan
Health Ministers from member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) earlier issued joint regional preparedness strategies for the prevention, early detection and control of the coronavirus outbreak.
A communiqué issued at the end of the one-day meeting of ECOWAS health ministers, organised by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), charged member countries to implement robust measures to assure the availability of critical medical supplies, including laboratory materials and personal protective equipment in the region.
The meeting at Bamako, the capital of Mali, in February was aimed to “promote a joint initiative to prevent the introduction of the disease through the establishment of different mechanisms, strategies and raising awareness at the national and sub-regional level on how to deal with this scourge.”
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