NEW YORK, United States of America, July 9, 2020/ — Highlights
• From May 17th to July 7th 2020, the growth curve in the number people testing positive decupled, reaching an exponential shape from 304 to 3250. Cases have been reported in 15 regions.
• There are currently four regions mostly affected by the epidemic in Madagascar:
Analamanga (Antananarivo), Alaotra Mangoro (Mangoro), Analanjirofo (Fenerive Est) and Atsinanana (Toamasina) that cumulate most of the previous and new cases with high community transmission. The overload of central hospitals has led to preparing for decentralizing of care for asymptomatic and pauci-symptomatic patients whilst moderate, severe and critical patients will still be taken care of in central hospitals
• Government declared health emergency status since March 20 and has since maintained or increased measures, especially in affected regions (such as Analamanga region, where the capital city is located). The recent control measures, including curfews and limitation to inter-regional transport, make partners’ response more complicated.
• UNICEF is the key organizer and financer for preparing to this decentralizing of patients’ management and will support the PHC units as well as general practitioners. UNICEF supported also severe patients’ care by contracting O2 suppliers for hospitals, helping saving lives of most severe patients who were on the high rise.
• UNICEF will launch in July in 59 priority districts, a strengthening of PHC services to boost these in response to decreased use.
• UNICEF continues to support the continuation of learning. 69 per cent of schools in the country have been disinfected, close to 100 per cent of schools in UNICEF priority areas (outside Antananarvo) have opened for grades 3, 7 and Terminal, and 172,008 children have received self-study guides.
• 600,000 people in most affected cities receive, via programme Avo-Traina, subsidized access to water as well as soap for 200,000 and provision of 2,500 hand washing devices.
• Use of regular resources, reallocation of existing programmes (Korea, Gavi, ECHO, DFID) and mobilization of new donors (Denmark, Norway, National committees) is supporting UNICEF’s response.
UNICEF Madagascar has estimated its initial needs at USD 7 million for four months to support the government in its response to the pandemic.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
COVID-19 first officially appeared in Madagascar on March 19, 2020. The president of Madagascar declared a state of emergency on March 20, 2020 which has been lasting since. To respond to socio-economics needs, measures have been partially lifted over time but were fully reapplied after exceptional council of Minister of the 5th of July. The country, with one of the poorest population in the world, has experienced several pandemics over the past years (polio, plague, measles) which challenged its health system and stocks and is geographically isolated, with limited local production capacity for medical and para medical equipment to date, which complexifies the response. The secondary impact of the crisis, on poverty, access to public services, nutrition, education is particularly dire.
In the past weeks, the number of cases has started to rapidly accelerate, both in terms of person affected and death, although the lethality remains relatively low.