Covid-19 patients 'overwhelm' Madagascar hospitals

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By BBC Africa

Officials at some hospitals in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, are warning that their facilities are overwhelmed following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

The minister for health has written an open letter to aid agencies asking for equipment like testing kits, respirators and protective equipment for health workers, to help fight the pandemic.

At one government hospital in Antananarivo, the director says they are already treating 46 patients and only have space for four more.

Another administrator at a different facility said they were constantly overwhelmed.

The World Health Organization representative in Madagascar has warned that hospitals are saturated even before the peak of the pandemic in the country is reached.

There are over 7,500 coronavirus cases in Madagascar - nearly 80% of them were diagnosed in the past month.

With the spike in positive results, the government reinstated a strict lockdown of the capital and surrounding areas.

Following the health minister’s request for assistance on Monday, Madagascar's government spokesperson said it was not his duty to make appeals for help.

Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina has insisted the country is able to manage the disease and has promoted an unproven herbal drink as a preventive cure.

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