Learner Note

Dear STRIPE learners,

The Coronovirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having profound impacts across the global including Africa.  Since there have only been a few cases in Africa to date, there is a unique opportunity to take decisive steps to prevent the same repercussions in Africa that there have been elsewhere in Europe, Asia and North America.

As Africa’s frontline health professionals, stay as informed as possible.  In addition to staying abreast of the recommendations from your Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, we have outlined some key priorities that you can implement or advocate for in your own setting.   Please  also consider reviewing these CDC resources for health professionals. These resources include the following recommendations:

Protecting yourself as a health professional

  • Assess and triage patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure (including use of facemask for suspected patients and placing them in an examination room with a closed door)
  • Use infection prevention and control precautions when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including proper hand hygiene and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE, i.e., N95 respirator or facemask, eye protection, gloves, gowns)
  • Take precautions while performing aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs), including appropriate use of PPE and performing AGPs in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs)
  • More reading:

Recommendations for People with HIV

  • There is no data on people with HIV and COVID-19 but we suspect people with HIV are at higher risk for critical and/or severe cases
  • Encourage all people with HIV to have a  30-day medication supply if possible
  • Recommend that all people with HIV keep vaccinations up to date (influenza, pneumococcal) wherever possible
  • Establish plan for clinical care if isolated/quarantined (consider Telemedicine options and clinical online portals if available)

Management of suspected cases  

  • Limited information is available to characterize the spectrum of clinical illness associated with coronavirus disease 2019.  Furthermore guidance on management will differ according to where you are work.
  • However, consider COVID-19 in patients who meet the following criteria:
    • A. Patients with acute respiratory infection (fever, cough, +/- admission to hospital), AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND at least one of the following: 
      • a history of travel to area of COVID-19 outbreak in the 14 days prior to symptom onset, or 
      • patient is a health care worker who has been working in an environment where acute respiratory infections of unknown etiology are being cared for. 
    • B. Patients with any acute respiratory illness AND at least one of the following: 
      • close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to illness onset, or 
      • visiting or working in an area where there has been a confirmed outbreak in the 14 days prior to symptom onset, or 
      • worked or attended a health care facility in the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms where patients with hospital-associated COVID-19 infections have been reported. 
    • When evaluating ‘Persons Under Investigation’ consider the following steps:
      • Place facemask on patient
      • Isolate patient in private room or separate area
      • Wear appropriate PPE
      • Refer for testing including COVID-19 PCR testing where available

 Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for pandemic response

  • In addition to appropriate clinical management of people suffering from COVID-2019, be advocates for effective containment strategies in your setting!
  • Social distancing at home, at school, at work, and at social gatherings can prevent COVID-19 spread
  • Personal action: proper handwashing and avoid touching your face are all simple effective strategies
  • More on NPIs

We understand this is a stressful time.  Please take care of your own physical and mental health, and support the public and health care community in fighting anti-COVID-19 stigma.

For additional comprehensive information, we invite you to watch this special COVID-19 session at CROI 2020 to learn the latest on the global epidemiology, prevention, virology, and research response to date. We will also be adding future recommended resources to the STRIPE HIV website.

In closing, please answer this two question survey about the information provided.  To those that agreed to be contacted, please be on the lookout for a STRIPE HIV follow-up survey.

Best wishes,


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