Be Smart About South Africa

The Scramble for PPE Disadvantages Africa

John Nkengasong, Africa's Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2020. Picture taken March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri - RC2RLF9H0IKF

Africa’s top health official has issued a warning to wealthy countries hoarding medical equipment that if the coronavirus is left to spread in Africa the whole world remains at risk. “We cannot be neglected in this effort,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters in a briefing on Thursday. “The world will be terribly unsafe, and it will be completely naive, if countries think they can control Covid-19 in their countries but not in Africa.” African nations are being forced to compete with wealthier countries for testing kits, as well as ventilators for patients having difficulty breathing and protective equipment for frontline health workers. Nkengasong warned that the very future of the continent will depend on how this matter is handled as cases, now over 11,000, quickly rise. “We may not actually know how big is the size of the problem without scaling up testing,” Nkengasong was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.


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