Saida MaalinContributor

Africa’s adaptation to the global pandemic is reminiscent of the fights against other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Ebola. Which forced a unique response to the virus. 

Africa is already confronting multiple health challenges, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, meaning millions of people may be immunocompromised and more at risk of serious complications from this respiratory virus,” Shannon Smith, Professor of Practice and Director of Engagement for Africa Center for Strategic Studies said in a recent report.

Many African countries have followed suit with the rest of the world and shut down businesses, schools and cancelled all events with large gatherings. 

Due to African countries’ need to  respond to recurring infectious pandemics, the Ebola virus forced them to make improvements to help fight against outbreaks. 

According to statistics gathered by African Arguments, a pan-African platform for news, investigation and opinion, as of May 8 the continent had over 54,654 confirmed cases, 18,971 individuals have recovered and 2,078 have died.

South Africa leads the continent with 8,232 cases, Egypt is  second with 7,981 cases and Morocco at 5,661 cases, rounds-out the top tier at third.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping a few African countries and has deployed medical teams to help fight and minimize the spread. At the moment only the United Kingdom’s Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) has been working in Ghana, Zambia and South Africa.

According to WHO news reports,  Chinese emergency teams are working in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Both China and the United Kingdom are in  talks to connect with six other African countries. 

Women who are mostly overrepresented in the healthcare field in Africa, are serving as  the continent’s caregivers, nurses and doctors. 

More than half of the continent relies on subsistence farming which could mean Africa  countries must find a different approach to tackling this pandemic. 

“One in three Africans live below the global poverty line. Those who live on the economic margins are most vulnerable to lockdowns and other measures instituted to prevent transmission,” Smith said.

Although Africa is still in the early phases  of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africans are being urged to practice their individual responsibilities like social distancing, washing hands frequently, maintaining respiratory hygiene and if they have flu-like symptoms, to  stay home or seek medical attention.