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Waiting for the vaccine: The condition millions of Africans are living under

In developed countries, we have become accustomed to simple measures in the past 18 months, such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands frequently, and quarantining and quarantining when necessary. This was especially important before the advent of vaccines, when experts suggested using the “Swiss cheese” method to alleviate the virus and provide various levels to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In Africa, these steps are arguably more important-because only 2.5% of the 1.2 billion people on the continent are vaccinated. However, a new study shows that many of these technologies are basically impossible due to living conditions defined by poverty, such as lack of tap water and toilet facilities, overcrowding, and households with only single rooms. The author proposes that the influx of vaccines currently hoarded by developed countries is imminent. Moreover, in the long run, the world needs to work together to develop a more coordinated public health response.

The University of Bristol study used household data from all 54 countries in Africa over the past few years and considered several non-pharmacological public health interventions (NPIs), which are steps to prevent infection that do not involve drugs or treatments. The study produced some shocking numbers (though not the availability of masks). The survey found that 718 million Africans live in households of 6 or more people, many of which are not multi-room houses; and, about 283 million people live in households with 3 or more people sleeping in the same room. These conditions make it impossible to maintain physical distance. Co-author Tim Brewer, an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that using the standard definition of “close contact”-within 24 hours, 15 minutes of contact between people within 6 feet- In these African families, “this is what may happen every day.”

In terms of hand washing, it is estimated that 890 million Africans do not have running water in their homes; in half of the countries, the median on-site water shortage exceeds 70%. Moreover, 700 million people lack soap or washing facilities at home. Once people are exposed to or infected with the virus, it is difficult to lock them out through quarantine or 10-day quarantine. “If you can’t store food at home, you can’t stay at home for 10 days,” Brewer said. 79% of Africans do not have a refrigerator at home, and 45% have to share toilet facilities with other families. People have no choice but to contact and spread the virus “in order to meet the basic needs of life.” It is difficult to assess whether these trends are accurately reflected in the case rate. Brewer said that due to lack of resources, the disease is often difficult to diagnose, and he worked in West Africa for many years early in his career. “I can tell you that many of us died, and we don’t know why they died,” he said of the experience.

It is believed that there are 5.5 million COVID-19 cases in Africa to date, compared to 215 million cases globally, which seems lower than reality for Brewer. The figures do vary widely between countries: for example, households without on-site water use range from 0.6% in Mauritius to 93% in the Central African Republic. This change also applies to vaccination rates. Seychelles and Morocco have vaccinated 76% and 49%, respectively, while Burkina Faso and Tanzania have vaccination rates of only 0.3% and 0.4%. Nevertheless, as of August 23, only 2.48% of the entire continent’s population had received two injections (compared to approximately 40% in Europe and North America, and 25% in Asia). The president of the African Development Bank, Akinummi Adesina, said this week that there has been a “shortage” of vaccines in Africa. COVAX is a global initiative designed to guarantee the delivery of doses to poorer countries, but it has been weakened due to early deals between richer countries and manufacturers.

 

With information from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90669981/while-they-wait-for-the-vaccine-millions-of-africans-cant-easily-social-distance-or-wash-their-hands

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