It is what we have been fearing for months ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world – the coronavirus virus making significant inroads into the African continent.
“After months in which Africa escaped the worst of the coronavirus pandemic as the global center shifted from Asia to Europe and then to the Americas, the number of African infections – and deaths – has begun to increase sharply,” reported the Financial Times on July 20. And with 667,000 confirmed cases and at least 14,500 deaths, that has raised concern among some experts that the world’s poorest continent may be about to enter a critical phase of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The pandemic is gaining full momentum,” says John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that as transmission of the virus gathers pace, the danger is that “our hospital systems will be overwhelmed.”
At Bread and Water for Africa®, thanks to our supporters, we have been working with our partners in Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe and elsewhere to ease the burden of caring for orphaned children in the midst of a pandemic, struggling to keep clinics that provide free services for the indigent, and even to provide materials to make reusable face masks.
While we are doing all we can, it is disheartening to learn that according to the World Health Organization, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have doubled in 22 of the continent’s 54 countries have doubled in just the past month alone – with Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon, all countries where we work, showing sharp rises.
While we remain cautiously optimistic, our thoughts and prayers are ever with our international spokesperson Phyllis Keino, founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya, Angela Miyanda, founder and director of the KabwataOrphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of the Shinga Development Trust and Lerato Children’s Village, and all our partners, and all those who count on them, throughout Africa in these times of terrible uncertainty