A sharp lack of testing in many African countries has prevented officials from following the pandemic, raising concerns that the recent rise in cases across the continent may be just the “tip of the iceberg,” according to the International Rescue Committee.
Each country in Africa where the committee works has performed less than 8,000 tests per million people. By contrast, Britain performed 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 tests per million), Niger (373 tests per million), Chad (383 tests per million), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (467 tests per million) and Burundi (563 tests per million). rates between the African countries in which it operates.
The Committee, a global humanitarian aid organization, said testing in many African countries lags behind at least one test per 1,000 people a week recommended by the World Health Organization.
The organization said many African countries needed international support to increase their testing capacity, otherwise the continent could face “undetected and uncontrolled spread – and a reaction fighting with the hand tied behind its back.”
“Testing shortcomings make it almost impossible to understand the extent of the pandemic – not to mention measures to stop it,” said Stacey Mearns, chief technical adviser for emergency health in the committee.
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 contributed for the news. , Katie Thomas, Neil Vigdor, Mihir Zaveri.