Covid-19: A Wake-up Call for Africa? | AfriTV Online

Until Covid-19 cases started to emerge in some countries in Africa, in February, the less developed continent was going about her business importing goods and services from the west, North America and Asia. Africa imported everything from household goo...

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Covid-19: A Wake-up Call for Africa?

Published by: Ginny
05/01/2020 05:17 PM

Until Covid-19 cases started to emerge in some countries in Africa, in February, the less developed continent was going about her business importing goods and services from the west, North America and Asia. Africa imported everything from household goods to Cuban doctors, and African leaders were also notorious for seeking treatment in hospitals outside the continent. When Covid-19 struck and nations had to safeguard their borders to prevent the coronavirus, all were forced to rely on their own countries for everything. Suddenly, the Abuja Declaration of 2001 that urged governments to allocate 15% annual budgets to improve the health sector began to ring a bell.

 

In Kenya, where health is devolved to County governments, dramatic measures continue to be witnessed by County governors. Murang’a County Governor, Mwangi Iria, has been on a mission to put up a 35-bed capacity Intensive Care Unit in a record 21 days. Although the said Governor has been in office for eight good years, he never saw the need for an ICU until Covid-19 struck. Fortunately, the facility’s doors opened today on the 19th day.

 

In Ghana, the local industries have been encouraged by its president, Akufo- Addo, to produce Personal Protection Equipment such as facemasks, gowns, and gloves. In the same way, the National Youth Service in Kenya is working to produce PPEs. Despite all this positive energy by Africans to be self-reliant, the leaders will still open their hands to receive donations of PPEs and testing kits from China.

 

Furthermore, African countries continue to make orders for medical supplies from China to fight Covid-19. Thousands of Cuban doctors continue to be received in various countries across Africa, while the trained African doctors wallow in unemployment.

 

While African industries may revive as long as Covid-19 survives, it is not clear whether the same enthusiasm to maintain these industries post coronavirus will be evident. The African leaders who are putting up health infrastructure with zeal now may also fall back to laxity as far as improving the health sector is concerned.

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