Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, on Wednesday said that the international health council was planning to vaccinate at least 20% of Africa’s population for COVID-19, reported Anadolu Agency.
During a teleconference, Dr. Moeti said that all African countries should prepare themselves for the COVID-19 vaccinations as the WHO planned to start with the distribution of vaccinations as soon as possible.
The COVID-19 response team is hoping for “at least 20% of populations to be covered [with vaccines] in Africa, starting with the most vulnerable,” the WHO official said.
Moeti further added that the WHO was coordinating with various African countries regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations and was currently assessing the nations’ logistic capabilities.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Africa surpassed the 2 million mark on Wednesday. With over 2,012,000 cases, Africa represents under 4% of the world’s reported cases. The continent has reported over 48,000 deaths so far.
South Africa has reported the continent’s highest number of COVID-19 cases at over 750,000, with a death rate of 2.71%. Sudan, Chad, and Egypt have reported the highest fatality rates across the continent at 7.81%, 6.28%, 5.82%, respectively.
Last week, the WHO Africa office revealed that more than 18% of coronavirus deaths in Africa are among patients with diabetes. Diabetes was found to increase the risk of severe illness and death among patients infected with the coronavirus.
The UN health agency performed an analysis of 14 African nations that provided information on COVID-19.
“Far too many people are in the dark as to whether they have diabetes. People with this chronic condition suffer a double blow if they are also infected with COVID-19,” said Dr. Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. “We must turn this around by investing in early detection, prevention, and treatment of diabetes.”
The findings were released days before the World Diabetes Day.