A severe lack of evidence in many African countries has prevented officials from being able to track the pandemic, sparking fears that a recent expansion of cases across the continent may be just the “tip of the iceberg,” according to the International Rescue Committee.
According to the group, each African country where the committee works has conducted fewer than 8,000 tests per million people. By contrast, Britain has conducted 205,782 tests per million, the United Arab Emirates 472,590 per million, and Singapore 199,904 per million, the committee said.
The committee cited Tanzania (63 trials per million), Niger (373 trials per million), Chad (383 trials per million), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (467 trials per million) and Burundi (563 trials per million) as further evidence. low rates among the African countries where he works.
The committee, a global humanitarian aid organization, said tests in many African countries were well below the rate of at least one test per 1,000 people a week recommended by the World Health Organization.
The organization said many African nations needed international support to increase their probation capacity or the continent could face “undetected and uncontrolled spread – and a response that struggled with its hand tied behind its back”.
“Test deficiencies make it nearly impossible to understand the extent of the pandemic, let alone put in place measures to stop it,” Stacey Mearns, a senior technical adviser on emergency health on the committee, said in a statement.
The report was provided by Liz Alderman, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Kate Conger, Robert Gebeloff, Michael Levenson, Eshe Nelson, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Richard C. Paddock, Elian Peltier, Matt Phillips, Austin Ramzy, Motoko Rich , Eliza Shapiro, Katie Thomas, Neil Vigdor, Mihir Zaveri.