“As the world grapples with the COVID-19 epidemic, these are the key challenges that African countries face, including the African Palliative Care Association’s host nation, Uganda.
1. Medics and ministries of health cannot keep up with misinformation and fake news on social media about the virus.
The solution is to use and only depend on official information from Ministries of Health and World Health Organisation.
2. The official communications from Ministries of Health and World Health Organisation are not comprehensively translated into the several and diverse local languages, braille and sign language.
This calls for Language Professionals from the local language bureaus and university language departments to partner with /come to the aid of Ministries of Health with translation of all info packages into the local languages.
Most vulnerable groups
3. It is clear that the virus hits the aged, those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes etc.
The solution is for these categories of citizens to be given specific information to reduce risk of exposure at all costs and seek care early when suspecting infection.
ICU services in Africa
4. One in five of all COVID-19 admissions require access to ICU and assisted respiration but Africa has the worst ratio of ICU beds per 100,000 of population. The solution is for governments to support MOHs to set up more ICU beds and train more ICU staff as a matter of urgency.
5. Africans are very social people who attend weddings, funerals etc. even when not invited. This is coupled with the significance of sharing space, touch, hugging and shaking of hands.
The solution is firm action by governments, cultural institutions and churches to significantly and intentionally reduce these risky actions.
6. All economies are being affected by reduced earnings from tourism and trade.
The solution is for governments to initiate contingency measures and economic stimuli ahead of time, reduce wasteful expenditure, and identify most at-risk sectors for intervention as a matter of urgency .
High population of PLHIV
7. Africa has the highest burden of HIV globally with over 70% of all PLHIV. The effect of COVID-19 on PLHIV in the short and long term is not fully known.
The solution is to build research actions into all COVID-19 responses.”
The centrality and importance of meeting palliative care needs for PLHIV in the time of Covid-19 cannot be overemphasised. Huge rises in the demand for palliative care services must be anticipated and therefore prepared for through ensuring adequately trained health workers, relevant medications and support equipment, and adequate levels of communication and information to ensure affected populations know where and how to access the services.