Coronavirus: ECOWAS leaders hold extraordinary session today

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will today, Thursday, 23 April 2020 hold an extraordinary session to deliberate on the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on its member states and the current state of the virus in the West African region.

The meeting is scheduled to be held via video conference. The meeting follows an extraordinary summit on the deadly virus by Ministers in charge of Finance and governors of the various Central Banks of member states held on Tuesday, 21 April 2020.

Fifteen member states have so far recorded 5,774 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 1,616 recoveries, 147 deaths with 4,011 active cases.

Nigeria recorded the first case in the sub-region on Thursday, 27 February 2020 while Sierra Leone was the last country in West Africa to report a case.

Financially, ECOWAS with assistance from international partners has supported member states with funds to acquire equipment and medical supplies to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

It also distributed Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) to member states while the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has said, as part of efforts to supplement what the various West African countries are doing by themselves to fight COVID-19, it is sourcing ventilators to support critically ill patients for distribution across the sub-region.

WAHO, in a statement released on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, said it has “distributed over 30,000” diagnostic COVID-19 test kits to the 15 ECOWAS member states and “these were the first testing kits received by most of our countries, and we are also currently distributing 50,000 specimen transportation kits, 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE), and some medications to member states.”

Meanwhile, “many states have received their allocation of diagnostic kits, but all the other support is expected to be delivered to the countries by DHL between 30 March and 7 April. We have placed orders for more diagnostic test kits and PPEs which we expect to arrive within the next 2 weeks.”

WAHO also indicated that in addition to the above, it is “sourcing for ventilators which are equipment for supporting the breathing of severely ill patients in hospitals to distribute to countries”, as part of efforts to supplement what individual countries are doing by themselves.”



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