The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa released a study Thursday saying only one in seven COVID-19 cases are being detected in Africa.
Using a coronavirus calculator by Resolve to Save Lives, the WHO found only 14.2 percent of cases on the continent were being detected. The calculator found on Oct. 10, there were 59 million coronavirus infections in Africa, far above the only eight million cases recorded.
To try to find more of the people who have contracted COVID-19, the organization announced a new program in eight countries that will provide as many as seven million people with rapid diagnostic tests in the next year.
The program takes a more active role in providing people tests as most positive cases currently are counted after someone goes to get medical attention.
“With limited testing, we’re still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa. Most tests are carried out on people with symptoms, but much of the transmission is driven by asymptomatic people, so what we see could just be the tip of the iceberg,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said.