The World Health Organization has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing African countries to stretch their already limited healthcare capacities, as the organization revealed 362,000 pregnant women in Nigeria missed their ante-natal care from March to August.
This was disclosed by WHO in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
The WHO said even though Africa has recorded the least casualties and infections, the crisis has hit the continent’s healthcare sector, as other critical sectors have had little attention due to the pandemic.
“A preliminary analysis by WHO indicates COVID-19 is hitting other health services really hard,” said Matshidiso Moeti, Africa Director for the WHO.
The WHO warned that the initial lockdowns contributed to a 50% drop in healthcare services in Africa, as over 1 million children in Africa missed vaccinations for measles between January to August, compared to 2019.
Matshidiso Moeti also disclosed that 362,000 pregnant women in Nigeria could not get ante-natal services from march to August, due to Nigeria’s stretched healthcare sector.
“So while COVID-19 is not overwhelming African health facilities in the way initially predicted. It is really stretching already resource-limited health systems,” Moeti said.
She added that vaccinations for Polio and Measles need to be restarted, to prevent relapse on the gains the continent has made in combating the diseases as a result of increased health services in remote areas.