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10 African Countries Have No Ventilators. That’s Only Part of the Problem. (New York Times)

April 23, 2020

From the article:

“…Clean running water and soap are in such short supply that only 15 percent of sub-Saharan Africans had access to basic hand-washing facilities in 2015, according to the United Nations. In Liberia, it is even worse — 97 percent of homes did not have clean water and soap in 2017, the U.N. says.

‘The things that people need are simple things,’ said Kalipso Chalkidou, the director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development, a research group. ‘Not high-tech things.’

Though limited testing means it is impossible to know the true scale of infections on the continent, several African countries report growing outbreaks. A snapshot of the situation on Friday showed that Guinea’s cases were doubling every six days; Ghana’s, every nine. South Africa had more than 2,600 cases; Cameroon, nearly 1,000.

Of course, there are big disparities among Africa’s 55 countries, too. Ventilators are much more plentiful in South Africa, which has a big economy and a relatively strong health infrastructure, than in Burkina Faso, one of the earliest West African countries to be hit by the coronavirus. At last count, it had 11 ventilators for 20 million people…”

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Photo of Kalipso Chalkidou
Director of Global Health Policy and Senior Fellow