Earlier in the year when COVID-19 had just started eating up the globe, experts predicted Africa would be wrecked with millions of lives lost. Eleven months later, the continent seems to be doing better than imagined. So much one would think that Africa is actually on the Black Panther’s Vibranium:)
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa is leading the world in it’s overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States for example, is a country of about 331,000,000 million people, and so far has recorded 13,759,500 confirmed cases with 271,233 deaths. Africa as a continent -the second most populated continent in the world, with a population of 1,353,936,503 people- has only had 52,000 deaths with about 2.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A lot of people never expected that of all places, Africa would be able to handle the coronavirus. How Africa has managed to ‘beat’ this virus remains a mystery to the world. Even experts have been unable to explain this, as they are equally baffled why the number of cases cumulatively, has remained so low compared to the rest of the world.
One may ask; What is Africa doing differently from the rest of the world? Why has Africa been more successful at controlling a deadly virus?
1. Experience they say is the best teacher, and if Africa has had anything, it has been experience with previous viral outbreaks like the Ebola, Lassa fever, and Marburg viruses. And as suggested by experts, this means that the continent was already prepared to deal with covid-19.
“The eco-system built for those diseases has been actually reused and readapted for COVID” experts say.
Africa already has community/health workers who have experience with dealing with pandemics like the covid-19. Some say using bad experiences to prepare for worse situations comes naturally to africans. Well, we couldn’t agree more.
Most African countries already swung into action quite early. In Liberia’s Monrovia for instance, residents took matters into their hands by setting up neighbourhood checkpoints to screen the temperature of those who enter, a strategy used during the Ebola outbreak.
Lesotho already imposed a nationwide lockdown before they had a single case.
In South Africa, the health workers went out ‘hunting for the virus’ by going door-to-door to get people tested.
Africa was able to build on their experience fighting other outbreaks.
2. Leadership: Many African countries have leaders who had taken the disease seriously from the start (Well, except Tanzania's president please), thereby influencing the populace.
3. Young Population: About 50% of people living in Africa are in their teens. One reason experts give for the low death rate is the continent’s young population. The people are younger and in better shape than other places.
The truth of the matter is, many Africans have been more prepared for coronavirus, because they were forced to deal with Ebola and the likes. Africa has indeed shown that with precaution, and common sense, you can limit the harm and spread of the coronavirus and in fact, other viruses.