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Preventing COVID-19 spread in poor areas as Africa - news from the World Heart Federation

Written on Friday, 6 March 2020 07:32

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic started late December in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and has since spread to 87 countries and territories in the world. Poor regions haven’t been spared and the need for a context-specific response has become urgent. Large and densely populated areas with widespread poverty and high migration are more vulnerable to airborne pandemics. As a global organization representing the cardiovascular community, WHF is committed to offering the latest evidence of the COVID-19 outbreak. With over 200 Members worldwide, we want to ensure that everyone, especially those living in poorer areas, is aware of the necessary measures to protect themselves and others.

As of today, 5 March 2020, 22 cases have been confirmed in 7 African countries: Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal. A significant part of the population in the continent is already extremely vulnerable. Hundreds of millions of people there are affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. The vastly spreading COVID-19 can thus lead to an even greater number of deaths and suffering. In addition, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are major risk factors for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19. 


We are concerned that previous studies on other coronavirus diseases such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have demonstrated a relationship between CVD, diabetes and an increased morbidity and mortality due to coronavirus disease. Considering the greater risk for populations in impoverished settings, WHF has developed a series of guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control for vulnerable populations and in poor regions.

 Download COVID-19 guidelines https://www.world-heart-federation.org/wp-content/uploads/WHF-COVID-19-GUIDELINES.pdf

For additional information, we encourage you to monitor the updates of the World Health Organization.