A continent plagued by numerous problems with solutions far from reach and the international community unwilling to assist in rehabilitation efforts is the current situation faced by Africa.
Africa Under Renewed Threat
The vast swathe of land where millions are prone to diseases, fighting, natural disasters and a future that no one can predict is once again under threat. The recent developments from the African continent include the ongoing fighting in the Sahel region, the locust invasion in the east, Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now, the looming threat of the deadly coronavirus.
The virus which emerged in December in china is now taking the world by storm. The World Health Organization has already declared a global health emergency and is warning countries to follow guidelines which will protect their future. This virus is now expected to make things worse for Africa where drastic changes need to be implemented to save over a billion people from becoming victims of something that can have dire consequences on the future of an entire continent.
Experts Worried About Rapid Evolution Of Coronavirus
The main problem cited by experts at this stage is the rapid evolution of this virus. They say it is something they’ve never seen before. At this point in time the issue that concerns health officials and African governments is the fact that the continent does not possess technologically advanced machinery and laboratories which can easily detect the virus in affected patients. Healthcare systems in the continent are still barely managing to operate reliably. There is immense work that needs to be done to secure and enhance medical services which will be up to the mark. Weaker healthcare systems don’t only make it extremely difficult to improve issues but can also turn out to be highly costly in the long run.
The Nightmare Scenario Could Soon Be Reality
The nightmare of coronavirus spreading throughout Africa could soon turn into reality considering the fact that China has heavily invested in the African continent, not only through the Belt and Road Initiative but also in various other political and social programs. The spread of the disease from China could be imminent. The top routes for Chinese travelers include Cairo, Nairobi and Addis Ababa. Many countries have now stepped up to issue travel warnings for China as problems seem to be far from over. Cameroon is one, while Nigeria is another. A suspected case of the coronavirus in Ivory Coast prompted authorities to install thermal cameras at airports to be prepared in case of an emergency. In Mauritius, all passengers arriving from crisis-hit Wuhan are being held in quarantine. South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says thermal imagery is also being to screen passengers just as in the Ivory Coast. Mozambique has also suspended visitor visas for China and is blocking travel to the country.
More Need To Be Done By The International Community
There are many measures which might be taken to prevent the disease from reaching Africa but these measures may not be fully effective in resolving the crisis. Thermal cameras are not foolproof, adequate testing is not enough and taking safety precautions may sometimes be ineffective. What the African continent really needs at this point in time is effective guidance, international assistance and the provision of financial aid which would help tackle not only the novel coronavirus but also devastating diseases like Malaria, Ebola, and Measles which have wreaked havoc and are continuing to worsen the situation.
Microsoft founder and one of the richest people in the world, Bill Gates recently pledged $10 million for front-line responders both in China and Africa. The amount will be divided between the two equally. The $5 million allocated for the African continent will be given to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for crisis preparedness and screenings. One of the largest philanthropic foundations in the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says the amount given will specifically be for “technical support to implement the screening and treatment of suspected cases, laboratory confirmation of 2019-ncov diagnoses, and the safe isolation and care of identified cases.”
While governments around the continent are ramping up efforts to avoid any potential threat, the World Health Organization has also issued a statement on the developments. It has urged Africans to enforce recommendations determined by the international health regulations emergency committee. Early detection, apt surveillance and isolation are the critical aspects that need to be understood. The organization is helping countries with their testing capacities.
Time To Prepare To Fight Coronavirus
Currently, there are only two referral laboratories in the continent which have the capability to conduct such tests. Considering the gravity of the situation, this fight is not restricted to the one who is infected with the virus but also for others around us. Our sole priority at this point should be to take steps which would not only support the infected but would also help in combating this problem. For a continent which has seen its fair share of trouble over the years, the least we as the international community can do is to play our role as best as we can to safeguard the mental and physical health of our friends, family and those that we haven’t even met.