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Senegal gets acclaim for COVID-19 response

COVID response has been very varied in many countries across the world.

Indeed, initial responses have followed a similar template . Go into lockdown, impose social distancing, begin testing.

However, what sets apart those successful in containing COVID, and those that fail in the containment is the follow-through.

Health experts warned that the lockdown and public health guidelines were ineffective in isolation, and needed a more robust response beyond them.

Senegal ranks high in COVID Response Index

And in this regard, Senegal takes the cake.

In a recent analysis of how countries responded to COVID-19, Senegal took up second place. It was the highest ranked African country.

According to The COVID-19 Global Response Index, Senegal scored high in degree of preparedness and reliance on science and facts.

Rapid response

Director of Health Emergency Operations in Senegal, Dr Abdoulaye Bousso, said that they began drawing a contingency plan the moment WHO declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency. This was on January 30th.

Senegal then also hit the news when it pledged a bed for every sick COVID-19 patients, symptomatic or asymptomatic

When Senegal confirmed its first case in March 3rd President Sall quickly imposed a curfew. But it was the follow-through that was critical.

The country ramped up its testing capacity, quickly setting up mobile labs that would return results within 24 hours.

“We saw at the beginning that if you do that, we can very rapidly stop the transmission,” Dr Bousso said.

Transparency

The Senegalese government has also been forthcoming with information on the virus. They provide regular updates, no matter how grim. This, Bousso said, was to counter the narrative that the virus was not lethal.

With over 14,000 cases and over 280 deaths six months into the pandemic, Senegal sure is leading the way in how to manage the pandemic.

The country is not yet out of the woods, for sure. But it is headed in the right direction.

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