OPINION: How COVID-19 Schooled African Leaders At Gun Point

Fear has gripped the entire universe following the outbreak of coronavirus and its pandemonium. Nations are battling the virus with all their might yet it is still infiltrating their cities and causing havoc to lives like that of the Eastern wind the Israelis usually deployed in times of war in the days of old.

Humanity is faced with a near perishing point and everyone is sitting on a time bomb. There is neither cure nor vaccine and recovered victims are still at risk of reinfection. Major economies and minor economies are all struggling.

The virus is breaking the ranks of the status quo and infecting princes and princesses of the world.

No one is safe, science is failing mankind and God is the only hope now. How has been Africans’ response? what does it mean to the African politicians who most often treat their malaria and headaches abroad?

There is an adage in Frafra that goes like “Do not gouge the eye of a domestic guinea fowl for the wild one” but it seems this proverb has lost its potency in Africa.

Since the beginning of time, when African leaders had the opportunity to travel to and fro abroad, medical tourism has by these elite class has enriched the West and Europe.

Having survived from infancy through childhood to adulthood, immediately an African is given a position with privileges, the already existing medical facilities in African can no longer handle their conditions.

Our midwives have suddenly become incapable of handling deliveries of their pregnant wives.

To add insult to injury, our universities and colleges which they went through are no longer producing quality graduates and their children are sent abroad to attend world-class colleges and live the best of their lives. These countries that our politicians sent their children to attend schools inculcate their universities into their annual budgets and they, in turn, conduct research and invent for them.

In Africa, little attention is given to colleges that offer courses in science and technology which are supposed to be our pillars for development.

The University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho which is the premier Health university of the nation should have been at the forefront of developing and testing vaccines by now if we were serious in Ghana.

In China, USA, Germany, UK, Iran, and most advanced countries, universities and other institutions develop vaccines and groundbreaking technologies for the government. In Africa, the narrative is not the same.

There are no conscious efforts by successive governments to build a state of the art laboratories for medical research to serve the continent but have been relying on the West, Europe and Asia for medical supplies. They never thought of a moment like this.

The COVID-19 is now teaching African leaders at gunpoint how to build ultramodern hospitals and laboratories at home instead of always seeking their health needs aborad. Today, the supposed safe haven medical facilities abroad are no longer tasteful to African leaders in the midst of this pandemic.

They wish the money they spent over the years abroad were used in building hospitals and training more doctors in specialities that can care for their conditions at home but had I known cannot reverse the past.

The 2-star general’s wife who died in Ghana may her soul rest in peace, the Vice President of Burkina’s Parliament who died and their four ministers battling with the COVID-19 would have been flown abroad if this COVID-19 was a usual disease.

They are now compelled to receive treatment under the under-resourced hospitals with the supposed incapable local medical staff. Learning this lesson under a shadow of death could have been avoided if you were thinking straight and started something small towards perfection.

The typical African leader thinks of his stomach and family. Today, no family is safe. The health of the poor directly affects the lives of your rich family because, it is the poor that will bring your food supplies for a small change of pennies.

Today, shortage of medical supplies and the fact that shipping some is not safe has awakened the consciousness of some of our leaders that, there is the need to manufacture these medical supplies locally.

It is our collective belief that, after defeating this virus, African leaders would rethink and come to the knowledge that, there no place like home.

The COVID-19 would affect the elite class than the poor because all imported cases are certainly not from poor homes.

Some families are worried because they have all their wards studying in hard-hit countries.

If they had built better schools at home, their wards would have been safe at home. May God deliver us from this virus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emeritus Moses Ade-ena holds a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the premier Health University of Ghana. He is also a YALI Alumnus, cohort 6 and currently the Executive Secretary, YALDA Ghana. Moses is an entrepreneur. Writer and a volunteer. Back in the university, he was the Public Relations Officer of the SRC in 2018.

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