As of 31 August 2020, a total of 220,331 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 3,580 associated deaths, were reported in West and Central Africa Region (WCAR).
21 out of the 24 countries in the region are reporting community transmissions, while three are reporting clusters of cases.
6.7 million people have been reached with critical WASH services • 34 million children were supported with distance/home-based learning opportunities
Situation Overview and Needs
The number of COVID-19 cases in West and Central Africa (WCAR) continue to rise, though on average the increase has slowed compared to the earlier phase of the pandemic. WCAR accounts for 21 per cent of confirmed cases and 16 per cent of deaths in Africa Region. The five countries in WCAR reporting the highest number of confirmed cases are Nigeria (53,865), Ghana (44,205), Cameroon (19,142), Côte d'Ivoire (17.948) and Senegal (13,611) representing 68 per cent of all confirmed cases. In WCAR, West Africa accounts for 76 per cent of all confirmed cases.
The number of deaths associated to COVID-19 is increasing in many countries including those previously reporting low death rates. As of 31 August 2020, 17 countries are reporting a case fatality rate (CFR) that is higher than the average WCAR CFR of 1.62 per cent. Chad (7.61 per cent), Liberia (6.29 per cent), Niger (5.87 per cent), Mali (4.54 per cent) and Burkina Faso (4.01 per cent) are the top five countries reporting the highest CFRs in WCAR.
The pandemic in WCAR exhibits an upward trend but the increase is relatively slower compared to the earlier months.
However, the region also faces continued challenges on limited testing capacities and the delay in releasing data from some countries, which may have affected the reported increases in confirmed cases. The situation also varies country-to-country, with Gambia having experienced a 1935 per cent increase in confirmed cases and 1700 per cent increase in deaths associated to COVID-19 within one month.
Due to the combined effects of food insecurity and COVID-19, as well as the locust threat, the number of people in need of emergency food assistance could climb to 57.6 million people in the Sahel and West Africa countries from July to August 2020 (Source: WFP). On 17 July, UNICEF and WFP joined forces to issue an alert on the unprecedented impact of food insecurity and COVID-19 on child malnutrition, warning of more than 15 million expected cases of acute malnutrition in 2020.