The current invasion of Ukraine by Russia may have an adverse effect on the supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment, and food supplies into the continent, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Dr. Moeti who made this known on Thursday during the WHO Africa press briefing on COVID-19 Pandemic and Women’s Health noted that although transportation on the global level may not be affected there would be a short supply of vaccines into the continent as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.
While in her opening address, she noted that about 11 million of the African population have been infected with the COVID-19 and 250,000 deaths recorded across to reduce the number fatalities caused by the deadly virus, governments and agencies need to strengthen access to healthcare delivery, make more funding for the fight against the virus and bridge gender equality gap in the continent.
The pandemic has to a great extent impacted the female gender through sexual and domestic violence, according to Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, President, Medical Women’s Association,
Giving credence to the effect of the pandemic on women, about 87,000 cases on gender-based violence have been recorded in South Africa while 717 rape cases in Nigeria all due to the pandemic.
Dr Nwadinobi however advocates that African countries should prioritise healthcare services for women and tackle psycho social health in the continent to curb the incessant abuse of women.
The fight against COVID-19 in Africa has been hinged on rapid testing and vaccination. During the third wave of the pandemic, Africa witnessed more infections and deaths due to slow response to emergencies and the issue vaccine equity.
According to Dr Richard Mhigo, only 30 percent of the African population have been vaccinated, to achieve more numbers in terms of access to vaccines, countries have been urged to remove all bottle-necks so as to accelerate vaccination.
Also, countries should create demand, reach out to where the people are, increase vaccine coverage and adopt the use of one-dose vaccines that do not require much effort on storage as suggested by Dr Moeti and Dr Mhigo.