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National estimates of critical care capacity in 54 African countries.

By Jessica Craig, Erta Kalanxhi, Stephanie Hauck

Posted 16 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.13.20100727

Background The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is an emerging threat across the African continent where national critical care capacity is underdeveloped or unknown. In this paper, we compile data on critical care capacity -- including number of ICU beds, number of ventilators, and number of physician and non-physician anesthesia providers -- for 54 African countries. Methods Data was compiled from a variety of resources including World Bank databases, local and international news media, government reports, local healthcare workers, and published scientific literature. Results Overall, data on number of ICU beds were available for 49 (91%) countries and on number of ventilators for 46 (85%) countries, respectively. Data on physician anesthesia providers and non-physician providers was available for 47 (87%) and 37 (69%) of the 54 African countries. Conclusion Most low and lower middle-income African countries have limited critical care capacity available to cope with potential surges in critical care demand due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, critical care capacity, ICU, ventilators, Africa

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