COVID-19 pandemic: Solthis calls for the mobilization of financial and technical actors for sub-Saharan Africa
31 March 2020 | Position statement, Press Release
Contributing to the prevention, diagnosis and management of cases of COVID19, to the protection of health professionals and to promote the continuity of access to essential healthcare services: Solthis wishes to carry out these actions, but will not be able to do so without the support of the international community
Paris- march 31, 2020 – The Covid-19 pandemic is upsetting the global, health, economic, political and social balance.
“Health systems are destabilized everywhere; we don’t yet know all the consequences for the most organized ones and we fear the worst for the most fragile”, warns Dr Roland Tubiana, an infectiologist at the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris and President of Solthis.
In countries with understaffed healthcare professionals, where diagnostic resources are largely insufficient and centralized, and where hospitalization and intensive care beds are limited in size, the management of severe cases will be very limited and the risk of contamination of professionals very high.
“At Solthis, we have always aimed to promote actions that promote the stability and efficiency of health systems in West Africa. Our slogan “Let’s not wait for the crisis to act” takes on its full value with this pandemic and strengthens us in our strategic choices”, he continues.
Faithful to its non-substitution approach, Solthis decided to be consistent with the national response plans to Covid-19 and to coordinate with the other actors/partners present in order to maximise the effectiveness of its actions, to find the solutions best adapted to the field and to draw on the lessons learned from the experience of the Ebola crisis in Guinea and Sierra Leone in particular.
Solthis will focus its action on 3 objectives:
Limiting the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic and its health consequences by contributing to the prevention, diagnosis and management of COVID 19 cases
- Contribute to the development and dissemination of public awareness messages to help spread the barrier gestures and fight against the spread of the coronavirus. In collaboration with local associations and patient networks, but also with anthropologists, we will support the development and dissemination of awareness messages as well as studies on their perception. We will offer training and facilitation materials to organizations that wish to become involved in the fight against COVID 19. Meetings, trainings and community gatherings not related to the response to COVID 19 have been adapted in all our fields of intervention. Regarding our usual capacity building activities in health centres, alternative remote support solutions are being put in place (telephone mentoring, whatsapp groups).
- Accompany the implementation of standard procedures for triage, management and referral of COVID 19 patients by disseminating national protocols, training health professionals in the detection of severe cases through the use of pulse oximeters, and in the protocol for referral of severe cases, and the provision of oxygen therapy equipment.
- Strengthen COVID 19’s diagnostic capabilities in the laboratories of the countries where we are present through the provision of reagents and equipment, as well as technical assistance and staff training on the implementation of diagnostics in the laboratories, and supply to ensure the continuous availability of health products.
- Contributing to the protection of health professionals and capacity building in Hygiene and Infection Prevention and Control (HIPC) We have already studied, country by country, with our partners the needs to set up, as at the time of the Ebola crisis, the provision of protective equipment, training in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), hygiene awareness materials, and assistance in reorganizing patient flows in health centers.
- Promote continuity of essential services such as HIV and TB care Our goal is to limit unnecessary patient exposure and promote patient confidence in the health system and health services to ensure the continuity of essential services for patients with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in particular. Our concern is that this pandemic may leave all patients in need of care for other conditions on the sidelines, or that patients, for fear of infection, may abandon their care structures and treatments that are essential to maintaining their health. As it was set up at the time of the Ebola crisis, we propose to our partners in health centres, to associations and to the beneficiaries to set up the spacing of appointments, the prescription of treatments over a longer period of time and the maintenance of contact with patients remotely to ensure their follow-up. We also propose the development of training materials for the adaptation of psychosocial assistance services.
Faced with this unprecedented situation, we ask that sub-Saharan Africa not be forgotten while France and many other countries are also facing this tragedy.
We welcome the first initiatives announced by donors. However, we ask both that current budgets for development policies and programmes be maintained so that activities can be resumed after the crisis, but also that funds be made available specifically for the response to COVID-19 in Africa, with flexible modalities for obtaining them, so that implementing structures such as NGOs can quickly access these funds to launch their action. There is no time to lose and it is by launching a concerted response with the actors and partners in the field that we will be able to raise awareness among the populations as quickly as possible, disseminate barrier gestures, prepare health centres and health professionals, and avoid the collapse of fragile health systems.
Solthis is a global health NGO founded in 2003 by doctors from the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, committed to improving access and health rights for vulnerable populations in West Africa. Solthis puts its expertise in strengthening health systems at the service of two priority issues in West Africa: the fight against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and the health of women, mothers and children to reduce mortality but also to promote the right to health, particularly for women.
Solthis currently has 100 employees in 6 West African countries – Mali, Niger, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Solthis’ head office is in Paris and a regional office has been located in Dakar since 2018.
- Domenach Rachel – Communications Director (Solthis head office in Paris, France) – email@example.com – 00.33.6.60.24.19.36
- Bastin Juliette – ATLAS Project Communication Manager (regional office in Dakar, Senegal)- responsablecom.ATLAS@solthis.org – 00.221.78.183.64.07
Solthis would like to carry out these actions, but will not be able to do so without your support and the support of the international community.