The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission has announced financial donations and equipment to its member states in support of their fight against the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission in its statement on Wednesday by its President, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, reaffirmed its solidarity
with member states as they battle to contain the COVID-19 scourge.
Mr Brou said the commission continues to closely monitor the evolution of the pandemic in the world and particularly in West Africa.
He said as of April 5, 2020, the 15 member States were affected by the pandemic, with 1,739 confirmed cases of contamination, 55 deaths and 328 full recoveries.
It noted that approximately 95 per cent of deaths were patients with underlying conditions.
“In light of the spread of the pandemic, the Commission reaffirms its solidarity with Member States and welcomes all the measures already taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and care for the sick.
“It remains committed to supporting Member States in the fight against this pandemic,” he said.
He said the commission’s specialised health institution responsible for coordinating the response at the regional level, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), has drawn up a Regional Strategic Plan with all Member States.
Under the plan to address the emergency at hand, the WAHO said in addition to assistance from international partners, it has given financial support for the purchase of medical supplies and equipment essential for the fight against the pandemic.
Apart from purchasing and dispatching 30,500 diagnostic test kits, the agency said it also distributed about 10, 000 personal protective equipment (PPE), consisting coveralls, aprons, gowns, gloves, goggles, boots to the 15 member States.
The donations also included 740, 000 prescription tablets (Chloroquine and Azithromycin).
Besides, it said, orders have been placed to acquire for Member States 240,000 each of diagnostic and extraction kits; 250,000 viral sample transport equipment; 285,100 PPE; 268,1000 masks for medical personnel (face masks, surgical masks, full face masks); 120 ventilators and several thousand litres of alcohol gel and disinfectants.
The statement said the WAHO was also working closely with the specialised services in Member
States, “to deploy personnel and epidemiological surveillance and data collection tools to strengthen the capacity of reference laboratories and train technical personnel.”
“ECOWAS and its Institution, WAHO, continue both internal and external resource mobilisation, with a view to increasing the availability of medical materials and equipment necessary to prevent, monitor and combat this pandemic.
“In addition, ECOWAS is working to complement its intervention as part of a Short and Medium Term State Assistance Plan (humanitarian assistance and support for economic recovery),” the official said.