COVID-19: GABON: Hospitals Getting Saturated As infection Nears 3,000

With the COVID-19 pandemic proliferating at an alarming rate by the day and registered cases nearing 3,000, hospital beds in the Central African country of Gabon are becoming filled and medical authorities facing the pressure of finding adequate accommodation for infected persons.

“At the level of the University Teaching Hospital of Akanda and at the University Teaching Hospital of Libreville, we have a capacity of 500 beds and of this number, 200 were reserved for COVID -19 patients.

“They are already saturated which explains why some patients are complaining of not being admitted,” said Dr Guy-Patrick Obiang, spokesperson for Gabon’s Pilot Committee for the Follow-up of the Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic, popularly known by its French acronym , COPIL.

Speaking during a press briefing in Libreville on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Obiang said that there were “more than 250, in fact 300 persons, hospitalised in various sanitary facilities in the country.

“But a special accent is put on positive cases, knowing equally that there are non-COVID patients who are taken care of in different medical structures. This today justifies why hospitals are almost saturated.”

The COPIL spokesperson said the authorities were working very hard to reinforce the bed capacity in various health institutions and also envisage other options to respond to the demands by COVID -19 patients.

Concerning the situation of persons being housed in the Meridien Re-Ndama Hotel, which has been drafted to confine patients diagnosed with COVID -19, Obiang said those being kept at the facility were persons “who do not respect the confinement measures while at their homes.”

He added that they were kept in the hotel for between 14 and 30 days during which period they were fed.

“Actually, we have more than 99 persons in Re-Ndama for medical and therapeutic follow-up out of their homes,” the COPIL spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID -19 positive persons in Gabon was expected to reach 3,000 cases by Thursday evening and the number of patients receiving respiratory assistance has continued to climb.

As at Thursday morning, the number of confirmed cases of the pandemic nationwide stood at 2,902 with 20 registered deaths.

The rapidly spiking number of positive cases is being attributed to the increasing tests being conducted by the medical authorities who have been registering an average of more than 100 cases everyday.

However, within the 24 hours leading to June 4 morning, only 424 tests were conducted throughout the country leading to the discovery of 99 new positive cases.

These include 84 cases from the 390 tests effected in Estuaire Province and 15 new cases from 34 tests carried out in Lambarene bringing the total number of positive cases in Middle Ogoue Province to 88.

According to COPIL, while the number of contaminated cases has continued to increase, the number of patients undergoing reanimation has been dropping over the past several weeks.

In a related development, the COPIL noted that in spite of misgivings about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 expressed in a treatise published by the medical revue, Lancet, the therapeutic protocol had continued to prove effective in the treatment of patients infected by the novel coronavirus in Gabon.

As at Thursday, 801 patients suffering from COVID -19 have been cured by use of hydroxychloroquine in the country, according to the COPIL.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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