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A new coronavirus case study by a Hong Kong-based firm has identified South Sudan as the world’s most dangerous country to live in during a pandemic.
The researchers looked at South Sudan’s general level of healthcare readiness, government efficiency of risk management, monitoring and detection efficiency and the capacity to withstand economic fallout as a result of the virus.
The study on South Sudan also reflected on access to basic sanitation facilities, size of the elderly population, the prevalence and death rate related to diseases such as diabetes, obesity and tuberculosis.
It also considered key healthcare parameters such as the density of hospital beds and doctors, healthcare access and use of technology for monitoring and detection of the coronavirus.
These include the executing capacity of political institutions and their leaders to establish adequate national emergency plans.
The report notes that South Sudan at present is unable to quickly react to any crisis, has no high levels of emergency preparedness, quarantine efficiency and doesn’t have a resilient economy to withstand the impact of the pandemic.
South Sudan has confirmed coronavirus cases of 1, 317 with 14 registered deaths in just 2 months.
It is leading 5 countries in the region with the number of confirmed cases.
“Its overall healthcare infrastructure and efficiency, as well as sanitation levels, are markedly lower, and generally has a much lower capacity to deal with future increases in COVID-19 infection spread than other regions,” the reported noted.
According to the findings, substantial investments are needed in medical modernization and the development of cutting edge healthcare technologies and facilities in South Sudan.
The 250-page document is published by the Deep Knowledge Group, a consortium of companies and nonprofits owned by Deep Knowledge Ventures, an investment firm founded in 2014 in Hong Kong.
The report is based on 130 quantitative and qualitative parameters and over 11,400 data points in categories like quarantine efficiency, monitoring and detection, health readiness, and government efficiency.
Out of 200 countries analyzed, South Sudan is ranked at the bottom with Switzerland being the safest country to live in during the pandemic.
Deep Knowledge Group said although South Sudan closed borders, and imposed lockdown and economic freezing measures late in the pandemic timeline, it hurriedly prioritized economic recovery over public health by reopening in May.
South Sudan lifted domestic and international travels and reopened some business after just a month of lockdown.
This, according to the firm was done without sufficient widespread testing, disease tracking or controlling the behavior of the population.
The group warned the government against “putting economic recovery above public health and safety.”
“[Some] regions that do not proactively build bridges across government departments and across the private and public sector to strengthen surplus healthcare resources against the threat of future outbreaks consistently score lower than one would expect considering their raw resources, capacity and potential to maintain and optimize regional safety amid the current pandemic,” it said.
It stressed that efforts to ease economic freezing and lockdowns should be coupled by vigilant and widespread testing, monitoring and detection.
In its recommendation, the Deep Knowledge Group urges governments to improve cross-department coordination between public health authorities and security forces including military and law enforcement officers.
It called for the increased level of domestic financing for health security maintenance and development within the national action plans.
This, it said, should include mobilizing the private sector to provide emergency pandemic items such as personal protective equipment, test and treatment supplies.
The case study by the consortium of companies said the governments must mobilize the efforts of medical experts and the private sector to reduce the negative repercussions of the outbreak until a vaccine is found.
“By holding periodic health security simulations, such regions can simultaneously demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a well-functioning health security system and transparently identify weak points in their health security infrastructure in order to improve them for future scenarios of epidemiological relevance,” it advised.
Apart from South Sudan, the highest-risk regions right now, according to the report are Sub-Saharan Africa and South America, as well as some countries in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific.
In the top 10 included Singapore, Japan, Austria, China, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
According to the Forbes rating, the most dangerous regions are sub-Saharan Africa, South America, some Middle Eastern countries, as well as countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the region, Uganda ranks 143, at Kenya at 147, Ethiopia 174, Burundi 179, Sudan 183, Tanzania 194, and Rwanda 199.
Switzerland and Germany have ranked at number 1 and 2 positions.
“[They] achieved the #1 and #2 positions in this new special case study specifically because of their economy’s resilience, and due to the careful ways in which they are attempting to relax lockdown and economic freezing mandates in a fact and science-based manner, without sacrificing public health and safety,” the report said.
The United States which currently the epicentre of the virus is ranked at number 58.
The qualitative assessment was formulated by Deep Knowledge Group analysts in coordination with specific experts and consultants using proprietary sources and techniques.
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