মঙ্গলবার, অক্টোবর ২০, ২০২০
কোভিড১৯ ডেস্ক
১০ আগস্ট ২০২০
১০:২৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ
South African hospital thinks outside the box to spice up COVID-19 testing
South African hospital thinks outside the box to spice up COVID-19 testing

১০ আগস্ট ২০২০ ১০:২৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ

In South Africa’s Wesfleur Hospital — a 50-bed public facility within the Western Cape, 25 miles north of Cape Town — staff are refashioning security booths into makeshift COVID-19 testing centers. 

Front windows are replaced with plexiglass, and two holes are made within the plastic to suit the arms of doctors performing nasal swabs.

Think of a kiosk — with arms.


COVID testing booth in Atlantis, South Africa 

“With COVID-19 being relatively unknown, staff were scared to try to to the swabbing of patients. Even with PPE [personal protective equipment], the fear remained,” said Dr. Earl Meyer, manager of medical services at the hospital. “Now, staff who were initially fearful are those conducting the foremost swabs.”

Previously the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, the Western Cape is now approaching its peak. the world has quite 82,000 positive cases, or around 28% of the caseload within the country, which is home to the very best number of infections on the continent. an outsized number of those cases are concentrated in largely poor, Black townships, where residents sleep in crowded conditions with limited access to water and where unreliable internet or television access makes it difficult to receive information about the virus. 

At an equivalent time, South Africa features a twin disease — the world’s largest HIV epidemic, with roughly 20% of adults (15-49 years) within the country living with the virus. An estimated 520,000 of these cases are within the Western Cape and also disproportionately affect Black Africans. the planet Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS have warned that past gains made within the HIV response could also be threatened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A six-month disruption to supplies of antiretroviral medicines, for instance, could lead to a further 500,000 deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020-2021 and will also increase new transmissions from mother to child. The resurgence of HIV in patients, once they are off their antiretroviral therapy, could cause overall increased transmission of the virus. One early study from the Western Cape indicates that individuals living with HIV have a modestly increased risk of dying from COVID-19 compared with HIV-negative patients, with but 10% of COVID-19 deaths due to HIV. Noncommunicable diseases like hypertension and poorly controlled diabetes posed the best risk of acquiring COVID-19. 

“Countries and their development partners must do all they will to make sure that folks who need HIV treatment still access it,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains within the global response to the present disease.”

WHO has issued specific guidelines to assist governments to assist vulnerable populations, including those living with HIV, during the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is encouraging multimonth dispensing, which South Africa announced in May 2020 it might treat automatically extending antiretroviral medicine prescriptions for six- and 12-month periods. additionally to the present guidance, WHO continues to provide South Africa with PPE — including gowns, masks, and face shields — to assist prop up supplies and protect frontline doctors who are treating both COVID-19 and HIV patients.


Amid these challenges, Meyer and therefore the Wesfleur Hospital team are bracing themselves for the height of the novel coronavirus, which is predicted any day now. Through their innovative testing booths, they need been ready to screen thousands of individuals and increased COVID-19 testing in their area by quite 400%.

The idea caught on. After Wesfleur started repurposing their security booths, other facilities within the Cape Town metropolitan area took note and began to acquire similarly designed booths from the Department of Health. 

“At the time we introduced the modified outdoor booth, we had no in-patients associated with COVID-19,” Meyer said. “Things have since changed dramatically. With our testing booth, we’ve established a really effective community testing site.”

Support WHO’s efforts in South Africa and around the world
As South Africa continues to fight the virus, the planet Health Organization is functioning alongside it to supply guidance and support. Through its international network and presence in 149 country offices, including 47 African countries, WHO remains the hub of lifesaving, data-driven information. The organization also leads efforts to distribute many diagnostic kits and pieces of PPE to 2.3 million doctors around the world.

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