Although the global coronavirus outbreak has not struck Sub-Saharan African countries like Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe as hard as the United States and Europe, the impact is still being felt.
In Zimbabwe, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of the Lerato Children’s Village, struggles to feed the orphaned children in her care because of the country’s rampant inflation where prices for basic necessities including food continue to rise.
In Sierra Leone, with a population of nearly 8 million, there have only been 1,327 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a total of 55 deaths. That is no doubt due to the country’s experience in combating the deadly Ebola virus outbreak which devastated the country in 2014, along with the government’s quick action in calling for a state of emergency a week before the first case of COVID-19 was even confirmed.
As The New York Times noted, however, “This is not to say that Sierra Leone is certain to win the fight against the coronavirus,” pointing out that the government has acknowledged serious challenges, and that “the health system remains comparatively weak.”
According to the BBC, Zimbabwe has confirmed nearly 500 cases and just four deaths (but the actual number of cases is thought to be higher) as of June 20, but hunger is the primary concern for millions of Zimbabweans at the moment.
“Many people, including myself, are more afraid of hunger than the virus,” a vendor whose stall was closed by the government shutdown in the country told CNN. “Hunger is more lethal than the virus we cannot see.”
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we are thankful for our supporters, especially during this time. Because of them, thousands in Sierra Leone have food, and the children at the Lerato Children’s Village are able to go to bed each night with a full bellies.