The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) addressed African governments on Thursday, encouraging them to reopen schools, on condition that they take measures to avoid spread of the coronavirus.
“Unprecedented and prolonged school closures to protect students from Covid-19 are causing them further harm”, estimated the two UN agencies in a joint statement.
WHO and Unicef “Urge African governments to promote the safe reopening of schools while adopting measures to limit the spread of the virus”.
“Just as countries safely open businesses, we can reopen schools”said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
In order to ensure a safe recovery while respecting preventive measures, WHO and Unicef recommend regular hand washing, daily disinfection and cleaning of surfaces, water facilities, or even a good waste management.
In Africa, economic activities have resumed for several weeks in many countries where the vast majority of the population lives from day to day.
“The long-term impact of prolonged school closures may further harm children, their futures and their communities.”, said the regional director of Unicef for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed M. Malick Fall.
According to a WHO survey of 39 out of 54 countries in Africa, schools are fully open in six countries, closed in 14 and partially open in 19 others.
As of August 19, 2020, Africa has recorded a total of 1,136,405 cases of Covid-19, with 26,304 deaths, according to the WHO.