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1.
Pan Afr Med J ; 37: 148, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1022216

ABSTRACT

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.

2.
Pan Afr Med J ; 37(Suppl 1): 4, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969316

ABSTRACT

The current standards for detecting active coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection are molecular tests by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, using swabs from the lower or upper respiratory tract. Because of the expertise required and the long turnaround time for the availability of test results, faster and easier point-of-care methods are necessary. The latter may include the detection of antibodies specific to COVID-19. We highlight a recent Cochrane review that assessed the accuracy of antibody tests for diagnosing COVID-19. The review shows that, at present, antibodies have little use in the diagnosis of COVID-19 within the first seven days from onset of symptoms. However, as time progresses, the sensitivity of the antibody tests increases. Antibody tests are more useful in detecting previous COVID-19 infection if used 15 days or more from onset of symptoms. Data presented in the review should be interpreted with caution as most studies (85%) recruited in-hospital patients and 11% recruited suspected COVID-19 patients, while only 4% recruited convalescent patients. This limits generalisability of the results to most settings.

3.
Pan Afr Med J ; 37(Suppl 1): 10, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968419

ABSTRACT

Introduction: the COVID-19 pandemic, which results from infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), presents important diagnostic challenges. Diagnostic strategies available to identify or rule out current infection, or to identify people in need of care escalation, or to test for past infection and immune response have become available, to reduce household and community transmission. We highlight a Cochrane review, published in September 2020, on the assessment of diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care antigen and molecular-based tests to determine current SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: the authors of the Cochrane review searched multiple electronic databases for studies, which assessed SARS-CoV-2 infection with a diagnostic test. Eligible participants for the review included people with suspected current SARS-CoV-2 infection, known to have, or not to have COVID-19 infection, or where tests were used to screen for infection. Results: the authors included 18 studies of point-of-care tests conducted in various parts of the world, with none from Africa. The review shows that there is considerable variability in sensitivity and specificity of the antigen tests. The review also shows that molecular tests had less variability in sensitivity and specificity. Conclusion: the review suggests that the current evidence is not strong enough to determine the usefulness of point-of-care tests in all settings. However, the benefits are likely to be more noticeable in countries, like Africa where community transmission is high. An impact evaluation would be warranted when rapid point-of-care tests are implemented in African countries.

4.
Pan Afr Med J ; 37(Suppl 1): 8, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967229

ABSTRACT

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.

5.
Pan Afr Med J ; 35(Suppl 2): 119, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-962486

ABSTRACT

There is currently no approved pharmaceutical product for the treatment of COVID-19. However, antibiotics are currently being used for the management of COVID-19 patients in many settings either treat to co-infections or for the treatment of COVID-19 itself. In this commentary, we highlight that the increased rates of antimicrobial prescribing for COVID-19 patients could further worsen the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We also highlight that though AMR is a global threat, Africa tends to suffer most from the consequences. We, therefore, call on African countries not to lose sight of the possible implications of the treatment of COVID-19 on AMR and a need to redouble efforts towards the fight against AMR while dealing with the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Africa , Humans
6.
Pan Afr Med J ; 36: 80, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-709363

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) has become a pandemic. There is currently no vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19. Early diagnosis and management is key to favourable outcomes. In order to prevent more widespread transmission of the virus, rapid detection and isolation of confirmed cases is of utmost importance. Real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is currently the "gold standard" for the detection of SARS-COV-2. There are several challenges associated with this test from sample collection to processing and the longer turnaround time for the results to be available. More rapid and faster diagnostic tests that may produce results within minutes to a few hours will be instrumental in controlling the disease. Serological tests that detect specific antibodies to the virus may be such options. In this review, we extensively searched for studies that compared RT-PCR with serological tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19. We extracted the data from the various selected studies that compared the different tests and summarised the available evidence to determine which test is more appropriate especially in Africa. We also reviewed the current evidence and the challenges for the genome sequencing of SARS-COV-2 in Africa. Finally, we discuss the relevance of the different diagnostic tests and the importance of genome sequencing in identifying potential therapeutic options for the control of COVID-19 in Africa.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Genome, Human , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Africa/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Serologic Tests , Time Factors
7.
Pan Afr. Med. J. ; 2(35): 1-3, 2020.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-708777

ABSTRACT

As rates of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue rising in Africa, usage of infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies by healthcare workers (HCW) is critical. We highlight a Cochrane review of qualitative evidence that explored barriers and facilitators to HCW compliance with IPC recommendations for COVID-19 and other respiratory infectious diseases. The review found various individual-and organizational-level barriers and facilitators. The findings suggest that healthcare system constraints that make it difficult for healthcare workers to implement IPC guidelines require urgent prioritisation. This will help lay the foundation for addressing the more individual-level barriers potentially discouraging HCW from implementing IPC guidelines. We draw attention to pan-African initiatives for enhancing healthcare workers’ capacity to undertake IPC measures at such a critical time.

8.
Pan Afr. Med. J. ; 2(35): 1-3, 2020.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-704191

ABSTRACT

Heads of government in Africa responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up high-level task forces at continental and national levels to coordinate preparedness and response strategies, in a bid to mitigate the spread of this virus on the continent. However, the current strategy at both continental and national levels are narrowly focused on COVID-19 and this is not sustainable. This is because Africa has a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and sustaining access to essential life-saving health services is also critical during this pandemic. Therefore, we call for a more holistic health systems-based model for COVID-19 outbreak response. We recommend that response strategies should be transitioned from vertical isolated programmes to a broad-based “time-bound” integrated health system intervention that links with existing health programmes as well as other government and non-governmental sectors.

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