from AKANI CHAUKE, OKORO CHINEDU & MARIA MACHARIA
AFRICA BUREAUS, (CAJ News) – IT remains a mystery why indigenous Africans have resisted contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the continent.
Most cases of the virus point to a majority of the careers being from outside Africa and at the time of publication, there was no scientific evidence to back the trends.
In the cases confirmed in the continent, mainly in South Africa, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia, only a minority of the individuals are indigenous citizens.
“The majority of the people infected with COVID-19 in Africa are not of African origin,” a health expert, who refused to be identified, told CAJ News Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday.
“They are Africans because majority of them acquired African citizenship or permanent residence owing to colonial past background. Very few (less than 0,2 percent) of those that infected cases are the actual persons of African lineage . As a professional, it will be unethical to stereotype diseases but records on the ground show otherwise.”
A Kenya medical expert, who also requested anonymity, said, “The fact on the ground is that less than 0,2 percent of cases to date are not people of African origin.”
A Nigeria human rights activist in the commercial capital, Lagos, accused the West of double standards and stereotyping during previous outbreaks.
“If this disease was Ebola, cholera, tuberculosis or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the Western media would have gone overdrive slamming it as an African disease. Now that the disease has hit hard on non-Africans, we are just being told it affected ‘people’. There is institutionised stereotyping of diseases,” he said.
“If this disease had taken a huge toll of blacks, believe me, the entire world would have been stereotyping the pandemic linking it with Africans. Now that the unthinkable has happened in the so-called developed world, we are now being told not to stereotype the pandemic.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had still not ascertained why there were fewer cases in the continent despite Africa’s fragile health systems.
“Our biggest concern continues to be the potential for COVID-19 to spread in countries with weaker health systems,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, speaking to African Union (AU) health ministers gathered in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa sometime in February.
As to why the COVID-19 was not more extensive or prevalent in the African, Professor Thumbi Ndung’u from the African Institute for Health Research in Durban, South Africa said: “Surely, nobody knows. Perhaps there is simply not that much travel between Africa and China.”
– CAJ News