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ECOWAS preparedness, response activities COVID-19
There are close to 60,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in Africa

Overview of ECOWAS preparedness and response activities to COVID-19, By Dr LOKOSSOU K. Virgil


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Novel Coronvirus, 2019-nCOV is now officially called COVID-19 (CO – Corona, VI – Virus, D-Disease).


  • All ECOWAS Member States were informed of the epidemic by WAHO-DG;
  • WAHO-DG tasked a core team fully dedicated to monitor and lead the regional response to Covid-19;
  • Provide a region-wide disease surveillance view, and conduct situational analyses;
  • Monitoring of alerts in the regions and sharing of the epidemiological situation.
  • Provide regular updates to member states on disease spread, strategic and technical guidelines and directives and scientific knowledge;
  • Stratification of the Member States in West Africa into two groups according to risk levels (flights and passenger volumes);
  • Rapid assessment of country readiness, using the readiness checklist (15 of 15 countries responded to WAHO questionnaires);
  • Mobilization of expertise in countries for technical support;
  • Identifying Suppliers and Stockpiling key commodities (e.g., diagnostic equipment, PPE supplies, thermal scanners).
  • WAHO/ACDC/ WHO joint Regional training on Coronavirus Diagnostic
  • TIBMOLBIOL kits for the diagnostic of the Covid-19 / 100 test
  • Deployment of laboratory experts in Burkina Faso
  • 6 laboratory staff Trained on the protocol
  • Provide diagnostic kits / 200 tests
  • Contract with Word courrier


Strengthen coordination, communication, and collaboration amongst Member States in preparedness for Covid-19 epidemic, including cross-border collaboration;

  • Enhance surveillance and management measures for Covid-19, particularly at entry points – air, land and sea;
  • Urgently strengthen critical national capacities for diagnosing and managing cases;
  • Develop a strategic costed regional preparedness plan based on Member States’ priorities for governments, partners, and the private sector to support;
  • Promote multi-sectoral national efforts using one-health approach to maximize impact;
  • Step up communication to ensure that the public receives accurate, appropriate and timely information regarding the epidemic;
  • Implement robust measures to assure availability of critical medical supplies, including laboratory materials, and personal protective equipment in the region;
  • Work closely with the relevant authorities of National Governments and the affected Government to monitor and assure the health situation of our citizens resident in affected countries.
  • Regular communications with member states including:
  • Weekly online communication with NCIs and Countries representatives;
  • Ad hoc Video conference calls (4) on epidemiological situation and countries update;
  • Periodic emails with updates on the disease spread, scientific advancements, and health policy guidelines.



  • Launching of the Regional strategic P&R to Covid-19 (March 2020)
  • Training+++
    • Surveillance and Point of Entry
    • Risk Communication
    • Infection Prevention and Control
    • Case management
    • Research
  • Simulation Exercise
  • Regular Communication +++
  • Technical and logistical support to ECOWAS Member States


  • Being a presentation by Dr LOKOSSOU K. Virgil, Head of Division, Health Emergency and Disaster Management, ECOWAS-RCSDC,  at the  on-going two-day Simulation Exercise to Strengthen Regional Preparedness and Readiness Capacities to COVID-19 in West Africa, holding in Abuja from 5-6 March, 2020.



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