COVID-19 Situation Report No. 1 for UNFPA West and Central Africa

17 April 2020



  • While the virus came late to the region, all countries in the region now have confirmed cases. COVID-19 is spreading, and community transmission is increasing in some countries. A rapid acceleration of cases could quickly overwhelm vulnerable health systems.
  • Swift action is urgently needed to control further spread of the virus and to improve the response capabilities of countries.
  • UNFPA is working with the UN system, governments and partners, and is an active member of various regional coordination mechanisms: the COVID-19 Regional Response Platform, the UN Sustainable Development Group, the Inter-agency Steering Committee, and the Harmonization of Health in Africa.
  • Discussions are underway to propose a holistic plan for integrated UN support to all countries in the region.
  • The magnitude of the looming public health crisis and the alarming speed at which COVID-19 is spreading demands a united approach at all levels.
  • With the region’s recent outbreak of Ebola, there is formidable knowledge, lessons learned and good practices that can collectively contribute to the structures in place to address the pandemic.
  • The regional coordination platform will provide technical assistance while ensuring advocacy, political and resource mobilization and partnership to strengthen ongoing efforts as a One-UN response to the crisis and any emerging issues.
  • UNFPA is engaging with regional institutions, such as the Economic Community Of West African States, to build a problem-solving partnership in response to the crisis. The goal is to shift from a public health-centric focus to delivery of impact.
  • UNFPA is striving to maintain life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services during the outbreak.

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