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COVID-19 recovery in Africa, across the world

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By Mercy Kelani

There is need to invest in recovery and strengthened resilience for the future.

A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, have shown that the health systems in affected countries are beginning to show the first major signs of recovery. Countries now experience reduced disruptions in delivering routine health services in the early weeks of 2023. However, emphasis was placed on the need for investment in recovery, and strengthened resilience for the future. On April 26, 2023, WHO dashboard revealed that there were 764,474,387 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 6,915,286 deaths.

WHO recorded reports of continued disruptions by some countries in about an average of one-quarter of services out of the 139 countries who gave response to fourth round of pulse survey by WHO — continuity of essential health services . A discovery by WHO in 84 countries, where trend analysis was conducted, indicates that the average declined percentage of disrupted services was from 56 percent in July to September, 2020, to 23 percent from November 2022 to January 2023.

Many countries reported partial signs of health service recovery.

According to the survey, constant disruptions is as a result of side factors of demand and supply, with an inclusion of poor levels of sought health care in communities, and a limited number of health workers and other resources required for health care. On the website for the World Health Organization (WHO), WHO Director for Integrated Health Services, Rudi Eggers, said that health systems in many countries are beginning to provide health services for millions of people who were unable to get them during the pandemic.

It was reported in the survey that few countries deliberately reduced access in health service delivery platforms and essential public health functions from 2020 to 2021; an indication of a critical step towards pre-pandemic levels. At the end of 2022, WHO affirmed many countries’ report of partial signs of health service recovery. This recovery is in terms of services for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; communicable diseases like malaria, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; and immunization.

Nigeria refused response to all rounds of the pulse survey.

Within 2022, WHO asserted that the number of countries that reported disruption to their national supply chain system fell from almost half (29 out of 59 responding countries) to about a quarter (18 out of 66 responding countries). The COVID-19 pandemic did not only affect the economy and almost every aspect of life but also caused disruption of essential health services and efforts to completely put an end to various kinds of non-communicable diseases in countries.

However, Nigeria is highlighted as one of the countries in the African continent that refused response to at least one module of all rounds of the pulse survey. It is also included in the trending analysis. Other African countries like Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Kenya and 31 other countries were ticked to have given responses to the survey. Regardless of this, the Nigerian government have recorded a decline in COVID-19 infections and deaths. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has also began biweekly situations report on the pandemic from the previous weekly reports.

Need for more support for recovery, resilience and preparedness.

Additionally, the recent WHO report affirmed that many countries have improved in integration of COVID-19 services into delivery of routine health service. The report says there have been integration of COVID-19 vaccination, diagnostic and case management services by about 80 to 90 percent of countries and post-COVID-19 conditions services into routine service delivery. Nevertheless, the health organization said that more support is required to ensure recovery, resilience and preparedness, whereas, many countries have began to apply what they learned during the pandemic.

Related Link

The World Bank: Website

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