Why We All Fear Pandemics Like Covid-19 in Africa: Broken Healthcare Systems

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Uganda's Gen. Museveni is typical useless tyrant who boasts a huge military while hospitals are in decay. In one hospital, dead bodies remained on beds for days, uncollected.
 
[Covid Diaries 1]
 
Greetings sisters and brothers. This is Milton Allimadi. Some of you know me as publisher of Black Star News and adjunct professor of African History at John Jay College here in New York City. I send Pan-African greetings to all Pan-Africans around the world. Peace and blessings to all of you.
 
I’m going to be making short commentaries maybe on a daily basis, or every other day, and I’m going to be calling it Coronavirus Diaries. They are going to be very short and focus on specific issues. So for example today, I want to focus on why are we concerned, why are we normally afraid generally when we hear about pandemics such as coronavirus and its impact on African countries? We all know the answer why. We are concerned because in most African countries healthcare facilities and healthcare systems are extremely inadequate. That’s why were are primarily concerned. 
 
Now at this particular stage, today, April 4th, coronavirus, COVID-19, has not yet taken the kind of drastic level of spreading in African countries as it has in other parts of the world. Such as the United States for example, such as Italy, such as Spain, such as Iran, and many other countries. But this could be for a number of reasons. It could be because the testing capabilities are limited, that’s number one. Which is to suggest that in the future we might see these numbers go up dramatically. We hope they do not, of course; and a second reason, which was actually suggested to me by a doctor is that in most African countries the entry points are limited. So people that would be coming from overseas, where the spread is much more dramatic, have few points of entry into African countries. Either they come through the national airports or they come through borders where there is regular checking. So there are limited entry points. So that perhaps has also managed to diminish the spread of the disease, and we are hoping for the best; and as I said, it’s early. We don’t know what the near future and the long-term future has in store. We hope for the best. 
 
But going back to my main point; healthcare facilities are inadequate in African countries generally because the priority of the leadership is upside-down. You see African leaders, rulers, dictators, you know, call them what you will, typically parading their armed forces on national occasions or whenever they can find any excuse. You see the military marching in a stadium maybe, with all the weapons that obviously cost billions of dollars if not hundreds of millions; and that is supposed to highlight some level of achievement? Why do you never see any of these leaders letting their doctors march in the national stadiums? Why don’t you see them highlighting and showing off state of the art clinics and hospitals in African countries? They don’t because that’s not where they put the money.
 
Most of them put the money in the armed forces and police forces and security forces and the spying agencies which are meant to maintain their regime, and that is an issue that we as Africans must reject categorically. It must end. We must no longer accept it. Because if a government cannot guarantee our health and our safety from pandemics, if we don’t remove them, it means we ourselves don’t care about our health and our safety. 
 
So, at this particular point if we have not yet learned a lesson, I urge my fellow Africans and Pan-Africans, let’s say enough is enough; by any means necessary. Any regime, any dictatorship, that does not put our health as item number one on the national agenda, we must do everything permissible to remove them.
 
Let me give you a few examples which should have taught us lessons. The ebola epidemic, which fortunately was only confined to a few West African countries, it took Cuba, tiny Cuba, to send medical experts and doctors to help us control ebola in West Africa. These African countries, with their big armies, they couldn’t even say ‘let’s mobilize together and get our healthcare experts and doctors and go to help our sisters and brothers in West Africa.’ No, it was Cuba. 
 
That should have taught us a lesson. 
 
So today, we face the coronavirus pandemic; tomorrow, I guarantee you it’s going to be something else, another epidemic or another pandemic. For how long will we tolerate this, fellow Africans? I say, no more. Enough, is enough, is enough. 
 
 
Follow the author @allimadi on Twitter and miltonallimadi on instagram. You can also contact him via mallimadi@gmail.com 
 

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