What the world can learn from Africa

28 Apr, 2020

Africa's number of coronavirus infections is rising, and with it the fear of a catastrophe. But the continent has vast knowledge in dealing with infectious diseases that industrialized nations could utilize.

The global corona crisis is paralyzing African metropolises. In Johannesburg, South Africa's economic capital, the military was deployed to monitor the imposed curfews. In Uganda's otherwise lively capital Kampala, markets and shops remain closed. Only a few boda bodas (motorbike taxis) run the streets. The motorbikes are no longer permitted to carry passengers but are instead being used for delivery services and running errands.

Life is also slowing down in other African cities. For any kind of "normalcy" to return, the corona pandemic must be contained as soon as possible.

This is exactly what some African states could benefit from said Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, deputy director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

He commended the rapid action of African governments: "This is a lesson we learned during the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa," Ogwell Ouma said. "We intervened quickly, with the means, knowledge and proven social partners in the communities that have already been tested in the population." This has contributed to the low infection rates in Africa so far, Ouma said during an online panel discussion on the topic: "COVID-19 - early lessons from Africa."

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