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FIRST 2 COVID-19 PATIENTS IN SOMALILAND: THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

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The first 2 cases of COVID-19 have been reported to be confirmed on 31st of March, 2020. With no strict preventive measures in place, this day was foreseeable. Obviously, Somaliland has failed terribly in preventing COVID-19. Borders have not been shut down. Flights were pouring into the country and the virus has seized this golden opportunity to slip into the country.

The virus is everywhere by now. The cases are typically discovered when someone gets sick enough to seek medical attention. This is important as it typically takes about 5 days to start showing any symptoms. Each infected individual can pass the disease onto 2-3 other individual. For instance, the 2 confirmed cases in Somaliland have been infecting people every day and the people they infected continued to spread the disease to others. The total count of infected people doubled every 3 days until they got tested and became “known cases”. Harvard and Massechusetts General Hospital estimate that there are 50x more infections than known infections as reported. This means that there are about 100 cases in Somaliland at this moment. The rate of spread of the disease in this country is likely to even be higher because of the densely populated areas of gatherings like mosques, markets, cafes and restaurants.  The implication of this is that the virus is already everywhere and spreading.

The actual number of people infected with the virus is unknown. The reason for this being lack of transparency from the government and inability to carry out mass testing. As such, the public is under the impression that the disease is not here and it is yet to affect the majority of the people.

The number confirmed is only the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of the people infected with the virus are yet to be tested and diagnosed. Somaliland has failed to prevent and prepare for this disaster. And worse, no mitigation plan has been drafted to at least lessen the impact of this disease. The government and the people are downplaying the enormity of this crisis and are burying their heads in the sand. This is scary. The number of infected people is likely to spike in the coming few days or months. The extremely fragile health system of the country will not be able to cope with them and the disease will claim thousands of lives.

Author Info
Dr. Mubarak Ahmed

Dr. Mubarak Ahmed

An M.B.B.S degree holder from Sudan with a vast experience in managing diabetes and hypertension. Currently the Primary Care Provider at Saafi Clinic with a vivid vision aimed at improving and modernizing the care provided to patients affected by diabetes and hypertension.

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