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Africa’s Covid-19 quick response received global applause, but danger is far from over

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Africa, seemed to have put to practice the lessons it learnt during past epidemics including the 2014 Ebola outbreak and onslaught of Aid which killed millions. So far the continent has reported relatively low number of corona infected cases and deaths. The continent earned much praise for its quick response and indigenous ways of spreading awareness about the deadly contagion.

Among few of the measures are Uganda’s solar-powered oxygen units, rapid tests conducted in Senegal, Kenya’s mask-making textile factories and Ghana’s Veronica Bucket. The Veronica Bucket, which is gaining popularity all across the west Africa, is a large-plastic-dustbin with an attacked tap. It is filled with water and placed outside offices, malls, buildings, in slums and in villages to provide people with enough water for washing hands besides the water crisis.

The concept was invented by a Ghanaian public health official, Veronica Bekoe. Also, the continent employed indigenous ways for combating coronavirus like disseminating health messages through celebrities, religious figures, catchy radio jingles, and boom-boxing messages in addition to sealing borders, conducting mass screening, making mask compulsory and implementing lockdowns.

Experts believed that the key reasons why Africa remained better off than its well-equipped and richer neighbours were: First, Africa’s decades long experience with epidemics and loss of millions of lives, which made its people take charge of the situation with all seriousness, and adopt as many preventive measures as possible. Second, the continent got time to prepare against the pandemic outbreak, observing the nations like China, Italy, UK, and US battling the virus.

The applause is accompanied by a word of caution as health experts warn that it could be too early to judge the impact of the Covid-19 outbreaking Africa. The pandemic has just entered the continent and there are high chances of the number of victims going up, if adequate precautions are not taken.

Besides, what could be keeping the corona numbers low could be its youthful population. Officials believe that Africa’s weak health system, and lack of adequate medical supplies and protective gear makes it far more vulnerable than others.

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