Africa’s COVID-19 fight defies predictions


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa Bureau
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) THE continent has defied expectations in its management of the coronavirus pandemic, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said.

Ramaphosa, whose country is worst impacted by the scourge in the continent, made the sentiments to mark two years since the first COVID-19 case in Africa was reported.

He said although the burden of infections remained high, dire predictions about Africa’s ability to withstand the health impact of the pandemic had not materialised.

To date Africa has recorded over 11 million cases.

“Africa’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic is a story of defied expectations,” Ramaphosa stated in his weekly letter, made available on Monday.

He noted some have called it Africa’s COVID-19 paradox, that despite widespread poverty, poor living conditions, under-resourced national health systems and scant resources, the pandemic was being effectively managed in a number of African countries.

Several reasons have been suggested for the so-called paradox.

These include Africa’s relatively young population, experience in fighting outbreaks of disease, exposure of the population to previous infections and limited travel connections in many countries.

“In the course of the past two years, African countries have built remarkable resilience that will be invaluable for future health emergencies of this nature,” Ramaphosa projected.

He noted African countries had to contend with wealthy nations buying up and hoarding all available COVID-19 vaccine stocks in quantities far exceeding the needs of their populations.

Also, last year, South Africa and a number of other countries in the region were hit with travel restrictions after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Ramaphosa noted Africa’s experience of managing COVID-19 had emboldened local nations.

“It has shown us that resources and capabilities exist across our own continent to deal with emergencies of this magnitude.”

Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) selected South Africa as the first site for a vaccine technology transfer hub.

WHO last week selected Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia have been selected to ramp up jabs production on the continent.

“Without being able to manufacture our own vaccines, an equitable recovery will not be possible,” Ramaphosa said.

– CAJ News