Covid-19: in Africa, six out of seven infections go undetected, according to the WHO

The real number of Covid-19 contaminations in Africa is seven times higher than according to official figures, estimates the World Health Organization (WHO). “As of October 10, 2021, the cumulative number of cases of Covid-19 infection was estimated at 59 million in Africa, a figure seven times higher than the more than eight million officially notified cases” on the continent, the organization wrote, Thursday, October 14, in a statement.

Nearly 8.4 million cases of Covid-19, including 214,000 deaths, have been recorded in Africa, one of the continents least affected by the pandemic.

And for good reason, asymptomatic subjects are not detected, due to lack of tests. “Since the start of the pandemic, until October 10, African countries have recorded more than 70 million tests for Covid-19, which represents a tiny portion of the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the country. continent”, noted the WHO lamenting that‘”with a limited number of tests, we continue to ignore the real situation” in Africa.

“The majority of screening tests are done on people who show symptoms of Covid-19, but asymptomatic individuals are the source of much of the transmission of the disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

To overcome this lack of screening tests, WHO in Africa has announced a new initiative aimed at improving the detection of Covid-19 cases in Burundi, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Zambia. “The program aims to increase screening capacity in each participating country by 40%, ensuring it reaches the WHO recommended benchmark of 10 tests performed per week per 10,000 people.”, announced the WHO.

“In the absence of sufficient vaccines, a more proactive community screening effort is particularly important to reduce transmission in African countries where a relatively young population contributes to a high rate of asymptomatic infections”, explains the UN agency.

“An increased number of tests means rapid isolation of infected individuals, reduced transmission and more lives saved through targeted actions”, has explained Matshidiso Moeti, which will “break the chains of transmission and put an end to larger epidemic outbreaks”.

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