Senegal's quiet COVID success: Test results in 24 hours, temperature checks at every store, no fight
COVID-19 test results come back within 24 hours – or even faster. Hotels have been transformed into quarantine units. Scientists are racing to develop a cutting-edge, low-cost ventilator. This isn't the pandemic response in South Korea, New Zealand or another country held up as a model of coronavirus containment success.
It's Senegal, a west African country with a fragile health care system, a scarcity of hospital beds and about seven doctors for every 100,000 people. And yet Senegal, with a population of 16 million, has tackled COVID-19 aggressively and, so far, effectively. More than six months into the pandemic, the country has about 14,000 cases and 284 deaths.
"You see Senegal moving out on all fronts: following science, acting quickly, working the communication side of the equation, and then thinking about innovation," said Judd Devermont, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank.
Senegal deserves "to be in the pantheon of countries that have ... responded well to this crisis, even given its low resource base," Devermont said.
A Red Cross worker sprays a pupil with a disinfectant at the entrance of a school in Dakar on June 25, 2020, on the opening day of the classes for the students in the examination class in Senegal.