Despite the controversy, Senegalese health authorities will continue the treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, Senegalese expert said during Saturday’s daily COVID-19 briefing.
Speaking of the global controversy over the treatment of COVID-19 patients with anti-malaria drugs, Professor Moussa Seydi, chief of Infectious Disease Service at Fann Hospital, said that Senegal would make its decision based on its own studies.
“Given this controversy, we will only use our results to make decisions. We will continue our treatment and continue the evaluation of the treatments together with Pasteur Institute of Dakar,” he said.
Professor Seydi, who did a research on some 559 patients infected with the novel coronavirus, said that his research showed the treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin “effective in reducing viral load.”
“Because the average hospital stay for patients who had taken this treatment was 10.5 days, and 13 days for those who had not taken this combination,” Seydi said, adding that all patients who had taken this drug at an early stage were cured and no deaths was registered.
As for side effects, the Senegalese expert on infectious diseases, noted that there were 12 cases showing side effect, which represented only 2 percent of the subjects.
Although the situation seems encouraging in the treatment regard, the health authorities have concerns over the easing of certain restrictions, as the country now allows inter-regional transports, and reopening of restaurants and etc.
“Since the lifting of restrictions in transport sector will allow free movement, we will have difficulties in tracking all close contacts (of the infected patients), as the population will be moving from one region to another,” Dr. Abdoulaye Bousso, director of Senegal’s Health Emergency Operation Center.
Bousso called on the Senegalese to keep in mind that COVID-19 is still present in the country, and to respect the barrier measures.
“The number of severe cases can increase. If the disease spreads, vulnerable people will be the most affected. And hospitals will not be able to take in all of them,” Bousso warned the population.
“Everyone must understand that the disease is still there, that we are not yet out of the woods. There is a risk of having many more deaths. Therefore, we must ensure the protection of vulnerable groups, if not, the situation is likely to be more dramatic,” Bousso stressed.
According to Senegalese Ministry of Health and Social Actions, the country has reported 4,249 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 47 deaths and 2,512 recoveries, since the outbreak of the pandemic on March 2.
Senegalese President Macky Sall also urged on Friday his compatriots “not to drop their guard” despite the government’s decision to ease some restrictions.
Senegal is still in a state of emergency and its air borders remain closed until June 30, while it is mandatory to wear a mask at all public places, especially in Dakar, epicenter of the pandemic in this West African country.