African Population Platform reveals new COVID-19 mitigation measures.
The success of these government anti-COVID-19 efforts will largely depend on actions taken by individuals in their different spheres of life, yet policy makers have focused narrowly on distributing food as basic essential items for the vulnerable populations.
In Africa's quest to harness the demographic divident, achieving SDGs, eventual sustainable development and milestones towards Agenda 2063, The Regional Collaborative Platform of National Population Council's/Commisions has called upon policy makers in Africa and their partners to strengthen mitigation of the COVID-19 catastrophie through Swift and decision actions.
Chaired by Uganda, the members of the regional Platform of National Populations comprises of Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia.
The platform in a statement issued on population and development said that in order to address the challenges arising from the pandemic in Africa, issues especially on Reproductive health particularly family planning have suffered complete neglect which they say would reverse gains made on population management with implications, both in the short and long term.
It said that for the set backs introduced to Africa by COVID-19 require collective regional concerted efforts and firm commitments by African Leaders to put the continent back on track.
"There is a danger that COVID-19 will destabilize a number of African countries, with serious consequences that will divert the path towards cultivating/harnessing the demographic dividend. The outcomes, if unchecked, will have enormous negative impact on Africas effort to moderate its population growth, improve the standards of living and quality of life" it reads
In a joint commnique, the platform raised concern that though most government took initiatives, the success of the efforts were dependant on individual action and government for instance focused narrowly on food distribution after the lock down which they say created uncertainties on how they econmically survived.
"Most governments have taken several initiatives including movement restrictions, curfews, lockdowns, and providing social distancing guidelines to combat its spread. The success of these government anti-COVID-19 efforts will largely depend on actions taken by individuals in their different spheres of life, yet policy makers have focused narrowly on distributing food as basic essential items for the vulnerable populations. This creates uncertainties on how the urban dwellers are economically surviving" it further reads
Among the mitigation measures that the platform has outlined as guideded by evidence-based experiences includes:
Government in collaboration with the its various partners and the private sector should strengthen national and regional supply chains of contraceptives commodities and consumables and ensure they are more accessible to both providers and users, to prioritize sexual and reproductive healthincluding family planning in all phases of COVID-19 interventions to consolidate gains on improved maternal and child health, Position, maternal and new-born care as essential to allow pregnant women to travel for sexual and reproductive health services even in areas under stay-at-home orders or with travel restrictions without fear of legal consequences, Ministries of Education and Technology to explore the opportunities and challenges of diffusing e-learning in country contexts where the vast majority lack basic needs for livelihood and access to the internet is a problem, Ensure service-post and platforms for services delivery particularly at Primary Health Care centres are well stocked with commodities and essential supplies, remain functional and accessibly among other measures.
In a recent analytical illustration comment by Guttmacher on The Potential Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Sexual and Reproductive Health in 132 Low-and-Middle-Income Countries..” arising from disruptions of Reproductive Health/Family Planning services-chains of activities and in-access due to restrictions of movement and fear of contacting the Virus, and others, the illustration shows that; 10% decline in use of short-and long-acting reversible contraceptives could result in 48,558,000 additional women with Unmet need for modern contraceptive; 15,401,000 additional unintended pregnancies and that from past evidences, most of those women/unintended pregnancies will occur in Africa, 10% decline in service coverage of essential pregnancy-related and newborn care could lead to 1,745,000 additional women experiencing major obstetric complications; 28,000 additional maternal deaths; 2,591,000 additional newborns experiencing major complications; and 168,000 additional newborn deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the whole world causing millions of human morbidities and thousands of mortalities. Although the pandemic is primarily a health issue, it has social, political, economic, and environmental, etc., dimensions. The toll of COVID-19 cases is still at low levels but increasing gradually across Africa with thousands of confirmed cases and hundreds of deaths daily. The Virus affects all age groups, although it impacts more on the Older Persons and people with underlying medical conditions particularly, as documented in the developed world. The statistics on the Sex Ratio disparity in experiences and patterns are still in the process of being documented.