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Featured in “54 ÉTATS” Magazine-the magazine of Africa -published May 22,2020 – www.54ETATS.com

By Hervé Pugi

Only two years after its inauguration the Centre Cardio-Pédiatrique Cuomo (CCPC) in Dakar finds itself on the front line in the fight against Covid-19. Repurposing itself with effective results. In this interview, Pr Amadou Gabriel Ciss, the department head of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the Centre Hospitalier National Universitaire de Fann (CHNU) explains.


54 ÉTATS: First of all, could you give us an update on the health situation in Senegal to date and how the relevant authorities have managed the crisis so far?

Pr Amadou Gabriel Ciss (A. G. C.): The health situation as of 14th May, 2020 in Senegal due to Covid -19 infections was 2,189 tested positive cases. Of that total figure, 842 have successfully been cured,1,323 remain under treatment and 23 cases have died. The mortality rate is therefore 1%. The crisis management is centralized by the Ministry of Health and a Task Force Covid has been created involving all the health care structures including laboratories and especially prevention and communication programs. Involvement of State authorities at the highest level has also been noted.

54 ÉTATS: Faced with the emergency, it was very quickly decided – in agreement with your partner, the Cuomo foundation – to redirect part of your activity. Could you tell us more precisely what this is all about and what has changed for you and your teams?

A. G. C.: The Cuomo Centre has a resuscitation unit dedicated to cardiac surgery with the latest generation of modern equipment and well-trained human resources. This resuscitation unit was therefore the ideal tool for the management of serious Covid- 19 cases and in conditions of maximum safety for both patients and care staff.

54 ÉTATS: Can you tell us in very concrete terms what role the Cuomo Cardio-Pediatric Centre and its teams have played and still play in the fight against Covid-19?

A. G. C.: The CCPC and its teams constitute a central device in the fight against Covid- 19. Very early on in the crisis, the Centre was positioned in a pivotal central role by the Ministry of Health in the management of serious cases requiring intensive resuscitation.

54 ÉTATS: Would you say that your involvement in this fight against the Coronavirus was a necessity?

A. G. C.: The involvement of the CCPC was an absolute necessity. The Fann Hospital is the university reference structure for infectious diseases and the CCPC, which is located within the Fann Hospital compound, has the best equipped resuscitation. It was imperative to make this tool available to the patients for adequate management of the symptoms.

54 ÉTATS: If an initial assessment of your action had to be made, what would it be?

A. G. C.: The CCPC, which was dedicated to cardiac surgery, adapted very well to the context of a pandemic and played a decisive role in the management of the seriously ill. These severe cases are responsible for mortality in Covid-19.

54 ÉTATS: Despite concerns about the state of health systems, Africa may ultimately fare relatively better than other regions of the world. How do you understand this?

A. G. C.: I prefer to remain cautious, but current trends in statistics show us that Africa is relatively unscathed compared to the rest of the world. This could be due to several factors such as the youthfulness of the African population, a certain experience in dealing with epidemics (Ebola, Cholera, Meningitis…) and the isolation measures quickly put in place by the health authorities.

Centre Cardio-Pédiatrique Cuomo

First public hospital in West Africa capable of conducting open-heart cardiopediatric surgery.

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