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Pan Afr Med J ; 37: 148, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1022216


As coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to increase in Africa, healthcare workers (HCWs) have a high risk of being infected and the risks may be higher among those who work closely with patients. The risks of HCW infections can be mitigated with adequate precautions within healthcare facilities, especially with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). We highlight and contextualise the findings of a Cochrane review on the type of PPE that protects best, the best way to put PPE on (donning) or to remove PPE (doffing) and how to train HCWs to use PPE. The review found low-certainty of evidence that full body PPE offer more protection, but HCWs may be faced with difficulty during donning and doffing. Following standard guidelines may be helpful in reducing infection and increasing compliance among HCWs. Video training and simulations may be better methods for training on the correct use of PPE than traditional methods of teaching. Countries must, therefore, ensure that HCWs undergo compulsory training on the correct use of PPE; regardless of their professional category. Of the 24 studies included in this review, none was conducted on the African continent. There is thus an urgent need for well conducted studies on the experiences of HCWs using full-body covering PPE within the African context. Such studies could lead to tailored interventions that will improve the proper use of PPE among HCWs.

Pan Afr Med J ; 37(Suppl 1): 8, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967229


Contact tracing is a public health measure implemented to control the spread and break the chains of transmission of an infectious disease. It is done by identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to an infectious disease to prevent onward transmission. We summarize findings from a rapid Cochrane review that included cohort and modelling studies to assess the benefits and harms of digital solutions for identifying contacts of confirmed positive cases of an infectious disease. The review included 12 studies, which assessed digital contact tracing for the following infectious diseases: Ebola, tuberculosis, pertussis and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This review revealed low-certainty evidence of a decrease in secondary cases of the targeted infectious disease, if digital contact tracing was used. However, it is uncertain from the currently available evidence whether digital contact tracing would produce more reliable counts of contacts and reduce the time taken to complete contact tracing. Therefore, implementation of digital contact tracing in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in African countries should be accompanied by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework. There should be an evaluation and documentation of the benefits, cost-effectiveness, acceptability, feasibility, equity impacts, and unintended consequences of the intervention.