Doctors have been trained on the use of ventilators at an Addis Ababa hospital In Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country.
Doctor Tihitina Legesse said: “I’ll be first in line on this, so I needed to be trained in the use of the device.”
Ethiopia has over 100 million people, but only 54 respirators out of 450 available have been reserved for coronavirus patients.
“The Ministry of Health would like to acquire 1,500 more,” it said.
The government has ordered a thousand devices from China, but global demand is high.
Addis Ababa will have to settle for 250 by April.
Another medic, Rediet Libanos, said:
“In Italy, for example, they’re overwhelmed with very sick patients. They are suffering from shortages of artificial ventilation and they have to decide who has priority.”
As of Friday April 3, Ethiopia had officially confirmed 35 coronavirus cases with two deemed critical.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised African countries to “start thinking about mobilising” additional ventilators, said a technical officer for emergencies at the WHO’s regional office in Republic of Congo, Dr Mary Stephen.
“The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa is exacerbated by poor health systems and ill-equipped facilities in most parts of the continent.”
The medical equipment that has assumed star status in the wake of the current pandemic is ventilator.
It is a breathing machine that facilitates breathing in cases of respiratory failures.
It buys time for chronic patients of the coronavirus as medics work on treatment.