IJCM  Vol.11 No.6 , June 2020
COVID-19: Africa’s Challenge and the Need for a Paradigm Shift on the Use of Ventilators
Abstract: Background: The December 2019 Chinese epidemic of Corona Virus Disease [COVID-19], which erupted in Wuhan, South China, was declared a pandemic, by the World Health Organization [WHO], on 12th January 2020. The worldwide spread from China was rapid, but Africa was the last port-of-call. Her first diagnosed case was two months after China’s, on 14th February, 2020 in Egypt. The morbidity and mortality rates have, however, remained lower in Africa than in the developed world, and analysts believe that it was more of a temporary respite, since Africa’s poor health infrastructure will become her eventual albatross. Methodology: Data were collected on COVID-19 and records of the socio-economic capacity of Africa by accessing the relevant previous and current peer-reviewed publications from multiple search engines on internet. The data were, then, collated and comparatively analyzed. Results: The available data revealed that Africa had, mostly, the milder forms of COVID-19, and so, morbidity and mortality were low. Her shrinking elderly population and hot climate were believed to be contributory, but lately, as the pandemic spread, the role of these factors was not exactly predictive. Being low on healthcare infrastructure, Africa could tenaciously leverage on the supportive and preventive measures prescribed by WHO, while the world awaited a vaccine. The role of ventilators in the care of critically ill patients, also, came under scrutiny as some workers were questioning the underlying pathology, and advocating a paradigm shift from high-tech positive end expiratory pressure ventilation to plasmapheresis and packed cell transfusion. Conclusion: Africa faces a huge challenge with COVID-19, but the predicted heavy mortalities may be reduced by some local confounding factors, control of spread and re-focusing of critical care away from the expensive and unavailable ventilators.
Cite this paper: Emejulu, J. , Emejulu, Y. , Uche, E. , (2020) COVID-19: Africa’s Challenge and the Need for a Paradigm Shift on the Use of Ventilators. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11, 420-430. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2020.116035.

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