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Covid 19: No fewer than 9,000 Persons Have Died In West African Region, Says WAHO






(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The West African Health Organization, WAHO,  has revealed that the novel dreaded Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over nine thousand lives in the West African region since it surfaced.

It made this known Monday  at the beginning of a three-day conference in Enugu, being attended by all the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, member-states.

Director – General of WAHO,   Professor Stanley Okolo, who disclosed this in his remarks,  said the conference was historic as it was the first time such regional meeting was holding in Enugu, the former capital of the old Eastern region.

He said it was also the first meeting of the Programs Committee being held physically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him,   “as at yesterday, 26 September 2022, we had 644,521 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in the region, 9,464 deaths and 24,410 cases in the ECOWAS region.”

Okolo said in the view of the challenges posed by the pandemic, “the WAHO 2022 budget being discussed over the next three days will therefore be reflective of the challenges we have faced in the region due to the pandemic, the lessons learnt, and the need for accelerated post pandemic recovery.

“It is particularly important to strengthen the capacity of WAHO to discharge its mandate of improving health outcomes across the region and supporting the Member States.

“The need to fully operationalize WAHO’s agency in Abuja, the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS RCSDC) is urgent, acute and critical.”

He further stated that WAHO as the parent body had continued to plug the gap by leading on the pandemic response at a time when the RCSDC remains nascent.

The WAHO boss,  however, quick to add that “this should not be an excuse for ECOWAS to delay any further the lifting of employment embargo as it pertains to this critical institution for assuring health security in region.”



He  added : “Over the next three days, we will present some activities undertaken so far by WAHO during the year 2021, and our plans and programs for 2022.

“We will engage all of you on the development of WAHO’s Strategic Plan for the next 5-10 years, our Vision 2025/30, a piece of work which is being led by our management partner the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) who are supporting the Director General in strategy development, delivery and communications.”

He explained  that  as part of efforts to combat the pandemic, WAHO “have provided several cargo plane loads of critical medical supplies to all member states including PPEs, laboratory reagents, ventilators and oxygen concentrators.”

“Our laboratory strengthening programs include both those funded by community levy and those funded by our partners, and I am proud to say that in the spirit of taking ECOWAS to the grassroots, which is the reason we are here, that the Enugu Diagnostic Centre is one of the beneficiaries of WAHO’S PROALAB programme of laboratory strengthening funded by the German Government.

“I hope that Enugu State will maximize the opportunity of being included in West Africa’s network of regional reference laboratories created for the sole purpose of early detection and response to outbreaks and epidemics.”

Declaring the conference open, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who spoke through  his  Commissioner for health, Dr. Emmanuel Obi said the State had continued to develop critical health infrastructures both within the urban areas.

He  applauded  WAHO for choosing Enugu State for the programme, urging it to strategize and make the region become more stronger in health delivery service after COVID-19 recovery.

Our Correspondent reports that the conference is  being attended by key health experts from various ECOWAS states.


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