By JULIUS MBALUTO
The biggest challenge for Africa right now is how to navigate the hostile waters of life laden with Covid-19 pandemic infections. To speak metaphorically, the African ship seems not to have any experienced captain. It doesn’t seem to have any fuel to move its people from one point to another. All grope in the darkness of desperation and many wonder why things are the way they are. Africa oh Africa!
African countries’ economies have been hit by Covid-19 pandemic and the negative impact is so severe. So, how did we get where we are? In 2020, Covid-19 Pandemic came. As many nations of the world lost its own people to the pandemic and lockdowns implemented to stop the spread, some African countries followed what developed nations did to contain the pandemic.
Fast forward to August 2021, a lot has happened. Jabs to stop the virus have been manufactured by the Western multi-billion Pharmaceuticals Companies who kept the patents and copyrights to themselves under an international system which doesn’t seem to believe in Africa’s capacity to manufacture the same medicine.
The western nations have had their most of their populations vaccinated and those who haven’t been vaccinated it’s just because some declined the offer or believed in conspiracy theories concerning the vaccines. The Western rich nations purchased more than their population requires. For example, in some cases in the UK now, they talk about booster jab, meaning those willing already got the first two jabs.
The US President was featured on media outlets telling US employers that they will be paid to allow their staff to take a day out and get the vaccination. Huge percentage of Americans have been vaccinated and those that haven’t mostly are those refusing to be inoculated.
In the case of Africa, the doses already on the ground have only managed to vaccinate 1.5 per cent of the over one billion population of the African continent. Africa gets it supplies of the jabs manufactured via UN Covax system and as rich nations over bought what was manufactured, Africa is still waiting for crumps to fall from the rich nations’ table full of jabs and no one willing to partake!
The idea situation would be African demanding those copyrights and patents to use its scientists to produce medication just like the rich nations have done. It makes economic sense for as sad as conid-19 has made us, some nations are making profits through the selling of the jabs, their economies have benefited and are stabilizing through the profits made after the selling of this medicine.
Being able to manufacture own medicines is Africa’s way out of this covid-19 and other pandemic apartheid. That way, Africans will be in control and Africans will save their fellow Africans.
Right now, Africa is experiencing covid-19 apartheid. Most African nations are on UK’s red list traffic lights system meaning if you travel or come from such countries, in the UK you have to isolate for 10 days in a government chosen hotel and pay over £ 2, 000.
Remember, that the number of covid-deaths in the UK has previously been higher that all 54 African countries combined, yet no African country saw the UK as a red list country and applied such draconian measures to those coming from the UK.
The new end of lockdown measures in the UK got so many countries from the red-list to Amber on the UK’s traffic system of lockdown. Now, the US and China are on the Amber list of countries you can travel to and not self-isolate when you come back to the UK. However, most African countries remain on red-list.
US alone over half- a -million covid deaths and a huge population refusing to take the jabs, Africa, 54 countries 175,000 covid- deaths? What criteria is used here? What logic are we going with? Africa’s best interests will be served only when Africa become self-sufficient. Leaders and professionals from Africa do your best for Africa needs you!
Covid-19 apartheid perpetrators are like someone who shoots themselves on the foot. It is a matter of fact, that UK citizens and corporates, multi-national companies are investing in many African countries. Red-list status means travelling is paralysed, no one wants to waste money which is being made through isolation policies.
So, UK investors and other investors from red-list countries are hindered. How can this be changed to salvage the collapsing economies? By the same token, there should be global efforts made by all nations to ensure that all are vaccinated. People travel no matter what as we are living in a global village. The bottom line is no one is safe until all are safe!