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Senegal Is Widely Praised for its Handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Despite only having seven doctors for every 100,000 people, the BBC’s Mayeni Jones and Naomi Scherbel-Ball look at how the country has managed to keep Covid-19 in check. Dr Khardiata Diallo, who co-ordinates the epidemic treatment centre at Fann Hospital in the capital, Dakar, was part of the team that treated the country’s single Ebola case during the West African outbreak of 2014. A global Covid-19 response index by Foreign Policy magazine gave Senegal the highest possible score for its communication strategy – and top musicians too joined the effort to inform people. In April they clubbed together to release Daan Corona, meaning “Defeat coronavirus” in the local Wolof language. The song features famous Senegalese musician Youssou Ndour calling on people to stay at home and wash their hands. There are also colourful murals on the walls of Senegal’s oldest university calling on students to share the right coronavirus prevention techniques with their classmates, rather than sharing coronavirus. The prestigious Institut Pasteur in the Dakar, which in February was one of just two laboratories in Africa that were able to test for coronavirus, trained staff from dozens of other countries on how to test. Today the lab in Dakar’s central Plateau district has a 24-hour operation and testing has been expanded across the country. Tests for those with symptoms are free and results are released in eight hours.