COVID-19 Situation Report No. 1 for UNFPA Eastern and Southern Africa
Resource date: Apr 2020
Author: UNFPA ESA
● All countries in the region have reported cases except Lesotho and Comoros. South Africa is by far the most affected with 2,605 confirmed cases and 48 deaths, followed by Mauritius, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya.
● Mortality rates are rising, ranging from 1.2% in South Africa to over 20% in Burundi. Also, Mauritius and South Africa have the highest testing rates (6,501 and 1,603 tests per 1,000,000 population respectively) and the highest number of confirmed cases. WHO, Africa CDC and Member states are working to increase testing rates. ● Countries have enacted restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, including restrictions on movement and national lockdowns. While these measures are helping, they have had a negative impact on the continuity of essential services for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Livelihoods are severely affected by the lockdowns in a region with high poverty levels and a large percentage of the population engaged in the informal economy.
● UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS and NGO partners advocated for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) services, to be maintained on the list of essential health services, and developed a contextualized guidance note on the continuity of essential maternal and newborn health services for countries.
● UNFPA is working with partners to prioritize GBV and wider protection concerns in the COVID-19 response. Under the regional partnership forum, UNFPA has provided support to countries to adapt non-touch response services such as counselling and referral for services. For existing humanitarian situations, UNFPA works with GBV coordinators in countries to build capacity and align national responses to COVID-19 contexts.
● It’s also imperative to ensure that national responses do not exclude populations whose vulnerability has been worsened by COVID-19.