by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
PRETORIA – AFRICAN Union (AU) chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, believes the continent can make the most of its past successes against scourges to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.
His sentiments coinciding with the 57th commemorations of Africa Day, the South African president said African countries had been able to use their experience in managing outbreaks of cholera, hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola and Lassa, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis (TB).
“Our understanding of communicable diseases and how to manage them has put us in good stead when it comes to coronavirus,” Ramaphosa said.
He said as countries around the world battled to turn the tide against the pandemic, Africa had taken firm control of its destiny, by developing a clear strategy and raising financial resources from its member states.
“The African response to the coronavirus pandemic has received widespread praise,” Ramaphosa said.
“Despite the multitude of resource challenges they face, African countries have come together in remarkable ways, united by a common purpose.”
Africa day was marked just over three months since the first case of COVID-19 on the continent was confirmed.
Over 100 000 cases have been confirmed.
By early May, 43 African countries had full border closures, 53 had closed institutions of learning, 54 had limited public gatherings, 26 had instituted the compulsory use of face masks, 32 had instituted night-time curfews and 18 had imposed nation-wide lockdowns.
Ramaphosa said although there had been severe shortcomings and constraints, such as the shortage of personal protective equipment, testing kits and ventilators, there had also been stories of excellence and intercontinental collaboration.
He mentioned the work of the African Centres for Disease Control.
In conclusion, Ramaphosa said the work against COVID-19 was evidence of a continent determined to leverage its strengths and capabilities to resolve its own challenges.
“This is the premise on which the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded and it continues to guide and inspire us as we strive to build a better life for all of Africa’s people.”
OAU, now AU, was created on May 25, 1963.
– CAJ News