How Africa Survived Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19 in Africa

When the coronavirus pandemic began to take over Europe and America early this year, lots of public analyst and commentators predicted horrific tragedy for Africa. It was generally believed that a pandemic strong enough to cripple countries with arguably the best health systems in the world will no doubt wipe out a majority of Africa’s population. A conclusion that seemed reasonable given the poor state of health infrastructures and poor governance in most African countries. There were also warnings of a potential Covid-19 scourge in Africa from health experts and health organizations such as the World Health Organization. Surprisingly, Africa till date remains less affected by the pandemic in terms of cases and casualties especially when compared to Europe, America and Asia.

Taking a trip down memory lane to early this year, when the pandemic began to raise global concern. You will remember that despite the quality of the healthcare system in Europe, America and other developed countries, the virus soon created a health crisis in these regions leading to strict lockdown measures. Also, the rate of infection and death recorded particularly in Europe and America was staggering as Italy, France, UK, Spain and America were recording hundreds and sometimes thousands of causalities daily. There was also the case in Asia and the Middle East with countries like China, India, South Korea and Iran recording a high number of cases and fatalities.

Covid-19 Response in Africa

However, since the virus crept into Africa with the first case recorded in Egypt on February 14, the rate of infection and fatality have grown at a slow pace, quite to everyone’s surprise. The high level of poverty in most African countries made a protracted lockdown almost impossible. Also, there was a shortage of testing materials, PPEs, Ventilators, ICU beds, health workers among others, which dwindled Africa’s chances of confronting the pandemic head-on. Hence it seemed farfetched that Africa would survive such an unprecedented pandemic. Africa is said to be the second most populous continent in the world with about 17.2 per cent of the global population, yet only about 5 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases and 3 per cent of causalities were recorded in Africa. Now that the prospect of a viable Covid-19 vaccine is beginning to materialize and an end to the pandemic appears to be in sight, the question on everyone’s mind is, how did Africa survive the Pandemic?

There have been various attempts at explaining how Africa survived the pandemic. While Some of these attempts have been based on scientific research, others have taken their roots from religion, assumptions and mere opinions of several individuals. A recent study that sought to uncover how Africa was speared of the devastating effect of coronavirus pandemic, which was conducted by a group of African medical practitioners revealed that a variety of factors such as large young population, effects of previous medications on related illness, low population density in urban and rural areas were responsible for Africa’s success story. These findings were published in a 2020 research journal by the Nigerian Medical Association. According to a BBC report, public support, young population, favourable climate and good community health system were the factors responsible for the relatively low Covid-19 mortality recorded in Africa. To read the report in details, click here.

In conclusion, scientifically there are still a lot of things regarding Covid-19 that are yet to come to public knowledge. Hence, we may not yet have the complete answer as to how Africa survived the pandemic. Perhaps it is as a result of the factors mentioned above or simply an act of God (as many have come to conclude). Be that as it may, Africa’s success story is an indication that the continent is capable of achieving great feats if only its leaders and people would unify to collectively maximize the huge potential that is inherent in the continent.

December 2020 Editorial
©Fatherland Gazette

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