Devex Examines Potential Role For NGOs If Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Africa

Devex: What NGOs need to do if coronavirus reaches Africa
“As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus taxes the health system in China, there is growing anxiety about the potential dire consequences of the virus on countries with weaker health systems. The fears are particularly heightened across the African continent, where NGOs are expecting to play a key role in trying to contain the spread. ‘I have a great concern that if this virus makes it to a weaker health system, it will create havoc,’ said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, during a press conference Tuesday. There are currently no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus — officially named COVID-19 — in Africa. With the help of WHO, at-risk African countries have scrambled to enhance airport screenings for passengers with symptoms and increase capacity to test for the virus — originally only two laboratories on the continent had that capability. If there is an outbreak in Africa, NGOs expect to help in areas such as patient care, support to governments, community sensitization, hygiene promotion, and contact tracing…” (Jerving, 2/13).