As dangerous as COVID-19 threatens to be, African leaders are not backing down in their fight against the virus and they taking all necessary measures in tackling the virus head-on, even with Africa’s creaking medical systems.
The widespread of the virus and the fear of losing lives, due to our epileptic healthcare system, has made many individuals, private sectors, organisations, and even African leaders join forces to achieve a common goal – eradicating COVID-19 in Africa, saving lives and helping infected persons become healthy again.
Immediately Coronavirus spread into Africa, many countries closed the border and banned flights from European countries. Sudan not only sealed off all seaports, land crossings and airports, but they also declared a state of medical emergency and formed a committee that will prevent the spread of coronavirus into the country. Currently, Sudan has just 5 cases of infected persons.
Rwanda, who has about 60 cases, launched pro-poor support – an initiative aimed at vulnerable families adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced a three-week national lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly new coronavirus and ordered the military to enforce the ban. Senegal and Ivory Coast on Monday also declared a state of emergency. Senegal also suspended international commercial flights, and Ivory Coast shuttered nightclubs and cinemas.
The second-largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began a 48-hour lockdown after the arrival of two people with suspected coronavirus aboard a flight from Kinshasha. Ethiopia also shut its land borders to nearly all human traffic as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Even Sierra Leone, a country that has recorded no COVID-19 case declared a 12-month public health emergency to tackle the pandemic.
The Coronavirus pandemic also proved that the community spirit embedded in Africans has not been dissipated.
African finance ministers called for a $100 billion stimulus package, including a suspension of debt service payments, to help the continent combat coronavirus.
Chinese billionaire and co-founder of the Alibaba online shopping platform, Jack Ma, has donated 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 protective suits to each of the 54 African states, via his foundations.
The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) also donated over 5 billion Naira (U$D14 million), through the UBA Foundation, to aid the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
In Uganda, Vivo Energy, a company that distributes and markets shell-branded fuels and lubricants, donated 60 million UDX to the Ugandan government to help in the fight against Coronavirus. UNRA donated 1,000 anti-bacterial mattresses and other relief materials to the Ugandan Ministry of Health.
Huawei also made a donation to the Uganda Health Ministry to help in the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19. Jumia Uganda also made a donation of 50,000 masks to the Ugandan health ministry to help with the curtailing the virus.
In South Sudan, Red Cross deployed 1400 Volunteers across the country as part of COVID-19 preparedness. In Algeria, China extended a helping hand by supplying the country with 500,000 surgical masks, $450,000 and other relief materials.
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In Ghana, Presbyterian Church made a pledge to provide lunch every day for 100 medical staff working at the three designated health centers managing Coronavirus. The Church of Pentecost released 10 cinema vans to the NCCE to be used for nationwide public education on COVID-19. Fidelity Bank Limited, in Ghana, also reduced interest rates on personal loans for qualifying customers to 17.5%.
In Cameroon, the youths organised operation ‘ONE Person ONE Hand Sanitizer’ where homemade hand sanitizers were shared. In Zambia, Health Literacy, Zambia called for donations to help the government fight COVID-19. In Senegal, Liverpool striker, Sadio Mané, sent a donation of 30M FCFA ($50 000) to health authorities.
In Nigeria, Mike Adenuga donated 1.5 billion Naira, to be shared between the federal government and Lagos State government. One billion to the federal government and 500 million to the Lagos government. Nigerian senators have promised to donate 50% of their monthly salaries until Nigeria is totally free of COVID-19.
Folorunsho Alakija and her family made a donation of 1billion Naira to support the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria. Former Vice-president of Nigeria, Abubakar Atiku also donated 50 million Naira towards to fight COVID-19.
BUA on Friday redeemed its pledge of N1billion ($2.6mn) to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria. In addition, the company also announced another donation of N300million to Sokoto, Edo and Ogun States to assist in galvanizing a coordinated response and adequate preparedness in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in these states.
It did not end there, many individuals have also stepped in to help the government by going to communities to enlighten people about Coronavirus, how it spreads and how it can be avoided. They have also helped by donating hand sanitizers, groceries and toiletries to poorer communities.
Twitter user @DeboOdulana on Tuesday shared a form for folks who would like to volunteer to provide remote care for people who have tested positive for coronavirus and have been quarantined in their homes and over a thousand people volunteered to help.
Singer Runtown gave out 10 million Naira to Nigerians who need money to stock up their homes in preparation for self-isolation. Rene also raised funds through donations to help less privileged people feed during the lockdown. GIG mobility donated buses to help NCDC during this pandemic.
To help market women and restauranteurs who will be affected by the shutdown, PiggyVest co-founder Odun Eweniyi raised funds to support 60 women.
Many people also called for donations to provide groceries and toiletries for those who cannot afford them.
In general, over $2.6 billion dollars has been raised by Africans to fight Coronavirus in Africa.
Times like this remind us of how many people have not lost their humanity and can come together to fight a common enemy. In the midst of this pandemic and the gloom that seems to cloak the world, we can all find joy in the clear efforts people are making to ensure lives are saved and the world gets better, and look forward to the light at the end of this tunnel.