By GRACE AUDU, Abuja –
Director-General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Prof. Stanley Okolo, said on Monday that the region would require about USD 50 million to tackle Coranavirus (Covid-19).
Prof Okolo who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, explained that the amount was needed to strengthen the capacity of member states, especially weak countries that lacked capacity to diagnose or contain the dreaded virus.
Unveiling the outcome from the Emergency meeting held in Bamako, Republic of Mali on February 14, the WAHO DG, also noted that only about six countries of 15 countries in the region have capacity to diagnose and contain the virus.
He explained that the needed funding would be used to boost capacity of weak countries and purchase reagents, among others.
The director-general listed countries with capacity to diagnose or contain Coranavirus to include: Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Cote d’ivoire.
Others are Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal with each country having at least one suspected cases that tested negative.
On rumours that Covid-19 could not survive in tropical environments, the director-general said research was still ongoing to ascertain if it was true.
FULL TEXT OF FINAL COMMUNIQUE OF THE BAMAKO MEETING
1. The emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on regional preparedness and response to the ongoing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) epidemic in China was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Bamako, Republic of Mali, on 14 February 2020.2. The meeting was declared open by the Prime Minister of Mali on behalf of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and the opening ceremony was attended by top functionaries of the Government of Mali, members of the Diplomatic Corps and relevant partners
3. The ministers emphasized the urgency of the current situation regarding Covid19 which necessitated the convening of this meeting to agree strategies for protecting the population of the region
4. Following expert presentations on the global situation, the processes currently in place in the region and laboratory preparedness, the Ministers resolved to:
• 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
• Step up communication to ensure that the public receives accurate, appropriate and timely information regarding the epidemic
• 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
• 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 Chinese Government to monitor and assure the health situation of our citizens resident in China
5. The Ministers note, support and commend the efforts of the Government of the People’s Republic of China in managing this epidemic.
6. The Ministers expressed their deep gratitude to His Excellency, Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, President of the Republic of Mali and to the Government and People of Mali for their warm welcome and hospitality, and all the facilities availed to them during the emergency meeting.
7. The Ministers endorsed the final communiqué and the report of the emergency meeting.