The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that 26 Africans die of COVID-19 every hour.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, disclosed this at a media briefing on Thursday, calling for more efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
“With less than a month to go, this looming goal must concentrate minds in Africa and globally. Vaccine hoarding has held Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines, but as more doses arrive, African countries must zero in and drive forward precise plans to rapidly vaccinate the millions of people that still face a grave threat from COVID-19.
“The inequity is deeply disturbing. Just two per cent of the over five billion doses given globally have been administered in Africa. Yet recent rises in vaccine shipments and commitments shows that a fairer, more just global distribution of vaccines looks possible,” she said.
Speaking on the current case count, the Regional Director said infections across the continent are decreasing, adding that there is still need for caution.
“COVID-19 cases are declining slightly in Africa but remain stubbornly high. A rising number of new cases in Central, East and West Africa pushed case numbers up to nearly 215,000 in the week ending on 29 August.
“Twenty-five countries—over 45% of African countries—are reporting high or fast-rising case numbers. Over 5,500 deaths were reported in the week ending on 29 August.
“Although Africa’s third wave peaked in July, the decline in new cases is at a glacial pace — far slower than in previous waves. The pandemic is still raging in Africa and we must not let our guard down.Every hour, 26 Africans die of COVID-19,” she said.
Moeti also said Africa may miss the goal of vaccinating 10 percent of their most vulnerable populations against COVID-19, before the end of September.
She said new data shows that 42 out of Africa’s 54 nations may miss the target with the current pace of delivery and administration of vaccines.
According to the Regional Director, nine African countries, including South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia, have reached the global target of vaccination set by the World Health Assembly.