|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 182-183
Call for United Nations and World Health Organization to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic in the Conflict-Affected Parts of Libya
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2
1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||19-Mar-2020|
|Date of Decision||19-Jun-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||14-Jul-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Nov-2020|
Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Call for United Nations and World Health Organization to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic in the Conflict-Affected Parts of Libya. Intervention 2020;18:182-3
The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted all the dimensions of human lives and the issue of effective containment of the infection is quite a challenging task for the health care delivery system and public health authorities (WHO, 2020a; While & Nightingale, 2020). The available recent estimates suggest that as on 19 June 2020, a cumulative total of 8,385,440 cases and 450,686 deaths have been reported worldwide (WHO, 2020a). The global case fatality rate of the infection is 5.3%, while in the European region and the American region, case fatality rate of 7.6% and 5.2% has been observed (WHO, 2020a). Until the availability of a potential therapeutic drug or a vaccine, none of the nations can be complacent about the gains achieved so far as the disease is far from being over (WHO, 2020a; While & Nightingale, 2020).
In the Eastern Mediterranean region, till 19 June 2020, a total of 18,060 cases and 1010 deaths have been reported across the affected 17 nations, of which 11 nations have shown evidence of local transmission (WHO, 2020a). The case fatality rate in the region has been estimated as 2.2% amongst the 21 affected nations and one territory in the region (WHO, 2020a). Even though the estimates are not extremely alarming at present, we have to accept that majority of the constituent nations have weak health system and a lot of improvement is required for the strengthening of the health sector (While & Nightingale, 2020; WHO, 2018). Another important issue of concern has been the fact that nations subject to long-term conflicts within their settings, which has eventually compromised the health care delivery systems with multiple resource constraints (WHO, 2018).
In Libya to date 510 cases and 28 deaths have been reported, while most of the surrounding nations like Algeria, Egypt and Sudan have reported thousands of cases (WHO, 2020a). Even though the caseload in Libya is less as compared to other neighbouring nations, nevertheless we have to acknowledge the ongoing conflict which actually started in the year 2015 and is still going on (WHO, 2018). Owing to the conflict, the delivery of all essential as well as emergency health care services have been compromised and as a result thousands of people have already lost their lives while many more are in need of assistance for their survival and livelihood (WHO, 2018, 2020b; Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020).
There are no doubts that the containment of a COVID-19 outbreak in any setting is a herculean task and it requires extensive support from health authorities as well as other stakeholders. Keeping this in mind, the United Nations has appealed to all the stakeholders who are involved in conflict to resolve their interests for the time being and support the government and health sector to avoid loss of human lives and infrastructure (WHO, 2020b; Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020). It is high time that the World Health Organization and all the concerned sectors, including social welfare, education, travel, etc., should sit together and formulate a concerted and well-coordinated emergency response plan for dealing with the situation better and improving our readiness (WHO, 2020b,c; Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020).
It is extremely important to strengthen all the pillars which have been earmarked for the appropriate control of the infection. These broad areas include implementation of surveillance, promotion of early detection of cases through a well-expanded network of laboratories, isolation of the confirmed cases and quarantining of the contacts of the cases (Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020; WHO, 2020c). In addition, we should aim to promote all behavioural level modifications, which include physical distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding unnecessary travel or visits to crowded places and preferably staying indoors (WHO, 2020b,c). Furthermore, policy makers should prepare the health system to meet the rising number of cases and be well-equipped to provide appropriate treatment to patients. Finally, health authorities have to invest in the field of risk communication and community engagement to ensure that the general population is always informed about the recent developments and there is no scope for rumours, which can significantly dent the progress made (WHO, 2020b; Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020). Amidst all these developments, it is important that we support the mental health of the residents in the nation, as they have been subjected to stress and anxiety attributed to conflict over a prolonged duration and now the stress has been further increased by a novel infection (While & Nightingale, 2020; Elhadi & Msherghi, 2020; WHO, 2020c).
To conclude, it will be really difficult for the public health authorities to contain a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 in Libya, and thus all the stakeholders should respond to the outbreak in an integrated and strategic manner.
| References|| |
While A., Nightingale F. (2020). The COVID-19 challenge. British Journal of Community Nursing, 25(5), 258.
World Health Organization. (2018). Libya humanitarian response plan 2019. WHO Press, 1-18.
World Health Organization. (2020a). 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV): Strategic preparedness and response plan. WHO Press, 1-20.