Togolese healthcare workers take on the odds to fight COVID-19

As the first line of defence against COVID-19, Togo’s healthcare workers are doing all they can to tackle the pandemic.

  • 8 December 2021
  • 4 min read
  • by Nephthali Messanh Ledy
CHR Lome Commune, the main hub for COVID-19 treatment
CHR Lome Commune, the main hub for COVID-19 treatment


On 5 May 2021, Bruno Gnande, a senior anaesthesia technician at Togo’s top public hospital, passed away after contracting COVID-19. He became the second healthcare worker to die as result of COVID-19 since the pandemic was first reported in Togo in March last year.

The death of the two healthcare workers felt like a blow to efforts made by state authorities to ward off the pandemic.

Doses are available for all vaccines and it is free and safe. Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic.

After dozens of centres opened across the country to receive and treat COVID-19 patients, health workers have been risking their lives to keep the pandemic at bay.

Aside from their daily chores and services to patients for other diseases, healthcare workers have had to deal with new patients showing symptoms of the highly infectious illness.

“The impact of the pandemic on our activities is quite serious. The workload has increased significantly for many workers, new protocols have to be applied for COVID-19 and in addition, there has been a change in the relationship with patients,” says Dr Aboubakar Tchala, a medical doctor at CHU Sylvanus Olymipio.

In addition to the workload, Dr Tchala also stresses that the frontline healthcare workers have to grapple with delays in terms of patient management. First and foremost, they have to conduct PCR tests before actually attending to the patients.

“If the test is positive, the patient is kept in quarantine with special care prior to transfer to CHR Lomé Commune, the main COVID-19 care centre, in Kegué. The CHR team sends an ambulance to collect the patient, who is admitted to the centre where they receive the requisite care until we have a negative control test,” he says. 

“There is also insufficient protective equipment, especially at the height of the health crisis, despite the good will of the authorities,” he adds.

State authorities were quick to take the lives of healthcare workers into consideration as they provided an insurance scheme for the public healthcare workers and compensation for workers who contracted the disease during the course of their duties.

On top of this, as they kicked off the country’s vaccination campaign in March, the government put them top of the list for vaccines.

By 13 March, a few days into the country’s vaccination campaign, 33,090 healthcare workers, accounting for 95% of the country’s public healthcare workers, had received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. By 21 May, 93% of them – close to 30,867 – had received the second dose.

The pandemic is still a major threat; authorities fear a new spike as end of year celebrations inch closer. As of 15 November, one million Togolese have received at least one dose of vaccine, accounting for 25% of the population, and 411,018 of them have completed the vaccination process. This puts the West African country among the African countries with the highest rates of vaccination.  

Djibril Mohaman, head of the National Coordination of the Response Management against COVID-19, reminds Togolese of the important of vaccination as the sole approach for the country and the world to get rid of the pandemic.

“We have to be careful and everyone has to get vaccinated quickly so that we can celebrate and not have a spike, as happened last year at the end of the holidays,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“Doses are available for all vaccines and it is free and safe. Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic,” he added.

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