Patients who are critically ill with Covid-19 are more likely to die in Africa than in any other region in the world.
A study published by The Lancet attributes this to the shortage of crucial equipment in hospitals that are helpful in saving lives as well as shortage of specialised staff.
About 48% of severely ill patients admitted to a hospital in Africa die, the report notes, compared to the global average of 31.5%.
And the rate could be even higher in lower level hospitals that don’t have critical care units.
“Our study is the first to give a detailed and comprehensive picture of what is happening to people who are severely ill with Covid-19 in Africa, with data from multiple countries and hospitals,” Prof Bruce Biccard from Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town said.
“Sadly, it indicates that our ability to provide sufficient care is compromised by a shortage of critical care beds and limited resources within intensive care units,” Prof Biccard, who co-led the research, added.
More than 120,000 Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Africa accounting for 4% of deaths reported globally.
More than 3,000 adults from 10 African countries took part in the study that focused on 64 hospitals in 10 countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and South Africa.
The study found that between May and December last year, half of the participants died without being given oxygen and another 10% did not receive kidney treatment.