After 78 days following confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria on 27 February 2020, the West and Central Africa region has witnessed a dramatic increase in confirmed cases and deaths. As of 15 May 2020, all 23 countries in the region had recorded over 28,000 confirmed cases, a rise of 122 percent from two weeks ago. There are 690 deaths, representing 2.5 percent of total cases.
The main challenge remains the growing number of active cases (66.5% of total) with people in need of medical services. With the increasing new cases, there is a growing concern over community spread; the past week has registered a daily average of 1,218 new cases.The progression of confirmed cases has doubled in two weeks, particularly in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire. In Guinea-Bissau, the number of cases increased by almost 17 times from
50 to 836 cases in 4 last weeks, which shows exponential increase beyond control.
Governments in the region are beginning to ease lockdown measures while ordering implementation of preventive measures. Burkina Faso, Benin and Senegal have followed Ghana and Nigeria to ease lockdowns.
Increasing numbers, 576, of health-care workers are being infected by COVID-19 including in Niger (126), Côte d’Ivoire (86), Gabon (57), and Cameroon (40). It is urgent to reinforce their skills in infection prevention and control and ensure sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply.
Coordinating with governments and partners, UNFPA is leading life-saving work on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights, addressing gender-based violence (GBV), providing health supplies including PPE, and demonstrating leadership on population data in the context of COVID-19.