By Samuel Ssebuliba
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Covid-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern.
Addressing a weekly press conference on Tuesday, the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the rising COVID-19 cases are not only putting further pressure on already stretched health systems and workers but also triggering an “increasing trend of deaths”.
He reminded the world that new waves demonstrate the COVID-19 pandemic “is nowhere near over”.
Tedros outlined interlinked challenges presented now by the virus, beginning with sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, which continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths globally.
In Uganda, the cumulative Covid-19 cases stand at over 168,000, 3,600 deaths, while 100,000 patients have recovered.
He observed that reduced surveillance, including testing and sequencing, has made it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of measures to counter the disease.
Tedros also pointed to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines that are not being deployed effectively.
“The virus is running freely, and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalization for acute cases and the expanding number of people with the post-COVID-19 condition, often referred to as long-COVID,” he said.
He also highlighted a disconnect in COVID- 19 risk perception between scientific communities, political leaders, and the general public, describing it as “a dual challenge of communicating risk and building community trust in health tools and public health social measures like masking, distancing and ventilation”.