How Can We Together Beat COVID-19 in Africa? 
Don’t panic! Just prepare Carefully
10 KEY MESSAGES from the AU Youth Envoy & Youth Advisory Council
  1. Facts Not Fear -  Spread information from reliable sources ONLY including the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Governments! We can’t stop fake news but we can stop spreading them  
  2. Prevention Means Hygiene - Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for 40 seconds with soap and water and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  3. Don’t stigmatise and discriminate, we’re in this together!
  4. Report your symptoms immediately! Watch out for fever, a sore throat and feeling out of breath  
  5. Social Distancing- ensure at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing and avoid crowded places and traveling
  6. COVID-19 is helping us to reduce carbon emissions, let us use all possible innovative tools to keep our work going
  7. The elderly are at greatest risk, let us minimise contact and salute without shaking hands or kissing
  8. Young people will be affected; particularly their education, health and employment, we call on governments to put in place recovery measures  
  9. Peer support, mental health and empathy are very critical at this time
  10. Young People, let us be vigilant and stand together in solidarity 
Africa Preparedness for Coronavirus Outbreak
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in mass production shutdowns and supply chain disruptions due to port closures in China, causing global ripple effects across all economic sectors in a rare “twin supply-demand shock”. If there is a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa it could overwhelm already the weak healthcare systems in the region. It is causing slowdown in investment hence job losses,  revenue losses of up to USD 65 billion for oil exporters, unanticipated increases in Health Spending of up to USD 10.6 billion and revenue losses could lead to unsustainable debt (Full report)  
The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) of the African Union (AU) has been working with Member States to build infection prevention and control capacities in healthcare facilities and with the airline sector to support screening of travelers.

Africa CDC convened a Ministerial (Health) meeting on 22 February 2020, where Member States endorsed a continent-wide strategy to be implemented by the Africa Task Force on Coronavirus (AFTCOR), a joint partnership between Africa CDC and Member States.

“The uniqueness of this taskforce is that the ownership and leadership is shared by the AU, its member states and the World Health Organization,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Africa CDC director. CDC has been arranging daily emergency operation center meetings with AU member states, initiated a continent-wide network of ~230 clinicians from across the continent, and an online portal with training materials via online courses, online case studies, and social media vignettes to support evidence-based care of COVID-19 patients. CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center and its Incident Management System (IMS) for the COVID-19 outbreak - FULL BRIEF

To date, hundreds of personnel from more than 30 Member States have been trained on laboratory diagnosis, border screening and surveillance, infection prevention and control, risk communication, and other aspects of COVID-19 control. Africa CDC Healthcare Preparedness. To reinforce political advocacy on COVID19 around the globe, World Health Organization (WHO) named six global envoys, three of whom are from Africa: Dr John Nkengasong, director of Africa CDC; Dr Samba Sow, Director-General of the Centre for Vaccine Development in Mali; Prof Maha El Rabbat, former Health Minister of Egypt (Press release). Africa CDC Collaboration with The World Health Organization (WHO) supporting 43 laboratories in as many African countries that have been trained by the CDC to isolate and transport the virus, and test for it in the laboratory. 
CALL for African governments to maintain momentum on
Africa continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA)
ACFTA is a mechanism for building long term continental resilience and volatility management. For example, increase intra African trade on pharmaceutical and basic food products. It’s time for African governments to review and revise their budgets to prioritize spending towards mitigating expected negative impacts from COVID-19 on their economies, such as: a safety net, provide incentives for food importers to quickly forward purchase to ensure sufficient food reserves in key basic food items, in addition to funding virus preparedness, prevention and curative facilities including logistics. 
CALL for African scientists to invest in their experiences

The excellence in COVID-19 and climate research both demonstrate just how critical African expertise is to the rest of the world, whether it’s focused on renewable energy in Morocco or biodiversity on Madagascar.

We thank African scientists for their work and acknowledge its value in a far more inclusive scientific future. Perhaps equally important is the need for the global community to respect the contributions and the experience of African researchers across a range of disciplines.

That was the call that came earlier last week from Professor Oliver Phillips of the University of Leeds, a co-author of a study on carbon sequestration in rain forests of the Global South. Scientists from key institutions in 11 African nations, from Ghana and Gabon to Tanzania, participated in the comprehensive study published in the journal Nature. 

Senegal innovates coronavirus test Kit 
Senegalese innovation lab a 10-minute coronavirus test kit helping the UK 

In partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar, manufacturing of the test kits will happen at DiaTropix, a new custom-built facility for epidemics-related innovation, in Dakar, Senegal, and as part of its £46 million ($60 million) coronavirus prevention and research funding package, the UK government has awarded a £1 million grant to Mologic, a British biotech firm, to develop “point of need” test kits that can diagnose Covid-19 in 10 minutes. Manufacturing of the test kits, expected to be a handheld device. There might soon be a much faster way to diagnose Covid-19—thanks, in part, to a specialized facility in Dakar, Senegal. Read full article  

Nigerian Scientists sharing their work in Solidarity with the world
“I’m grateful for the strong collaboration that enables Nigeria to contribute to science on COVID19,” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, an epidemiologist who directs the NCDC. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, praised the Nigerian team for sharing their work in solidarity with the world.

The successful contribution came from the teamwork of partners in the Nigerian scientific community, from the hospital in Lagos affiliated with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that first diagnosed the case, to the genetic sequencing work done at the African Centre of Excellence for the Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID), directed by Dr. Christian Happi. Read full article  
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