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MBABANE – Is Eswatini sitting on a ticking time bomb? This question comes to mind following the World Health Organisation’s warning on Saturday that African health systems would be ill-equipped to respond to the rapid Coronavirus outbreak, should cases start to multiply on the continent.

During a meeting of African Health ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa,  WHO chief Tedros Adhannom Ghebreyesus was quoted saying; “African member States should come together to be more aggressive in attacking the virus known Covid-19.”

Further, he said the biggest concern was the potential for Covid-19 to spread in countries with weaker health systems.
Ghebreyesus called on African Union member States to come together to be more aggressive in attacking the virus.
Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula said just like other African countries, Eswatini had weak health systems.


Magagula said it was true that most African countries’ health systems were weak in responding to certain issues, adding that a majority had shortages of some drug supplies, weak detection and surveillance systems, among other things.  The director said the ministers of health and foreign affairs had attended the meeting of African health ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa over the weekend.

This is the same meeting where the WHO chief was speaking.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer at National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Russell Dlamini said during a meeting of Committee of Ministers Responsible for Disaster Risk Management they were invited to urge member States to set up preventative and preparedness measures against Covid-19.
The meeting was held in Zanzibar, Tanzania and was hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania. He said a concern was raised regarding the Covid-19 that countries were ill prepared and should try to strengthen their preparedness.

Dlamini said countries were further urged to take the coronavirus seriously and ensure it did not spread into their countries. 
The outbreak, which began in December 2019, has already killed more than 2 200 people and infected more than 77 500 in China.

More than 1 550 people have also been infected outside China, although Egypt is the only African country to have recorded a confirmed case. 
There have been more than 200 suspected cases in the WHO’s AFRO region, which includes most African countries, though nearly all have been confirmed negative.

AU Commissioner Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told officials to take drastic preventative and control measures. “Our dear continent, Africa, is particularly at risk given its relatively fragile health systems,” Mahamat is quoted saying.  

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