Tanzania on Wednesday published the first ever study on hospitalized Covid 19 patients showing similar trends to the rest of the world.
“This is the first and the largest study done in Tanzania of hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” wrote a team from The Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam.
The study appearing in the International Journal of General Medicine had involved 157 Covid 19 positive patients. Of these, 107 or 68.2 per cent, survived, while 50 or 31.8 per cent died.
“The in-hospital mortality was lower compared to the average mortality reported in Africa but higher than the global average amongst hospitalized patients with COVID-91,” says the study.
The study also involved colleagues from The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya and Texas A&M University, US.
There were higher deaths among males, those aged between 45 and 64 years, those suffering from diabetes as well as hyper tension and those who were obese.
The most common co-morbidities amongst these patients, the report says were diabetes at 11 per cent and hypertension at 7.6 per cent.
“Most notably two-thirds of the cohort population was either overweight, 30 per cent or obese, 37 per cent.”
Being overweight and obese, suffering with severe form of illness, requiring oxygen supplementation on admission and being admitted to the ICU and HDU were other factors associated with increased odds of hospital deaths.
The authors say the hospital serves a big foreign community which may explain the link between Covid deaths and obesity.
Our finding, the authors say are consistent with those done in the US but contrary to study findings from ten different countries in Africa.
“We hypothesize the difference could be in part due to the large cohort of the foreign community which our center serves.”
Majority of the patients the report says were symptomatic; the most common symptoms on admission were fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing in that order.
The team also warns theirs is a highly resourced private hospital and treatment outcomes may not reflect possible outcomes in public facilities.
Lack of national guidelines at the time of the study the team says had initially hindered aspects of the research.
“Despite these limitations, the experience and the data analyzed have set a benchmark for more research in addressing areas of clinical improvement within Tanzania.”
The data was collected between 29th March and 31st July 2020 when former Tanzanian President John Magufuli was still in office. Magufuli who died on 17 March 2021 had restrictive Covid 19 control policies.
By Gatonye Gathura
The report is available here: https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S330580