COVID-19 has gripped the world and its people in a crisis that has no precedent in the current Century. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic after the disease had reached 114 countries, with over 118,000 cases, and 4,291 deaths. Today, there are over two million cases and over 100,000 deaths globally.
“With over hundreds of confirmed cases and increasing number of deaths,, the Nigerian government and citizens must see the pandemic as a huge threat and must keep implementing the response measures in ways that are suitably adapted to our society’s context,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), which is based in Benin City, Nigeria.
In Africa the crisis has highlighted the needs of countries, as well the deficiencies of socioeconomic and development models, added Bassey. He stressed that multilateral institutions and foreign countries have already started injecting billions of dollars into the continent, in the form of credits, loans and grants.
“This crisis has shown as well that our health systems are not adequately adapted to a pandemic like this,” he noted.
“Our health systems are not equipped to respond to the needs of the people most in need in Nigeria and in many other parts of the world. Marking this year’s Earth Day in a pandemic should help us reflect that humans must learn to live in harmony with nature and desist from manipulations of viruses and other living organisms,” says Joyce Ebebeinwe, Biosafety Officer of HOMEF.
HOMEF presents a new publication on the Coronavirus and Africa entitled “Who Benefits from Corona? A breakfast with Mr. Gates” (https://homef.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Who-benefits-from-Corona.pdf). It provides a detailed overview of the African scenario with regard to the pandemic, describing the finances around this crisis and the main features surrounding COVID-19.
The book, described as “a Manifesto for the African people”, calls for an urgent change of the current socio-economic and development model, and a shift to be a continent that refuses to be used for risky experimentations whether for financial speculation or for purposes of “depopulation”.
The statement concluded: “We need to be confident that COVID-19 will be beaten. This crisis will show the determination, strength and resilience of African health workers operating in difficult circumstances. It will also show the social webs of support that sustains our peoples, and which must not be disrupted by contrived policy measures.
“African civil society needs to unite and closely monitor COVID-19 and its related policies on our continent. With all the help received we need to make our institutions, particularly those in the health sector stronger and resilient. The support must also not drag more countries into debt.
“We cannot allow that when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, our continent continues to be in the same dependency scenario that we are in today. We want our people to stop living in a survival mode. We demand the right to universal public health and assured basic income implemented all over the continent.”