I know many of you will share our concern for the welfare of children – especially those across Africa who will carry the burden of the coronavirus pandemic. We have a serious challenge ahead of us.
The recent modelling by Imperial College Londonshows that in a good case scenario, if the world acts swiftly and responsibly, we will have around 800,000 deaths by Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia alone. Further delay will add 3 million to that figure and no mitigation will lead to 2.4 million deaths in Africa alone.
In the past week, Covid-19 cases in Africa have increased 500 percent across Africa and Save the Children’s leading experts informed us that Burkina Faso and Kenya are where the UK was four weeks ago. With limited testing, we do not have the full story.
Children will be hit the hardest as their education has been halted, some may lose one or both their parents to the coronavirus and their wellbeing compromised as their families cannot work. Self-isolation in refugee camps and city slums is next to impossible due to cramped, poorly ventilated dwellings, shared toilets, water sources and unaffordable soap and sanitizer. We also don’t know the impact Covid-19 will have on severely malnourished children with lower immunity. The fact that 400,000 children die of pneumonia annually across Africa because they are denied basic healthcare speaks volumes about the region’s healthcare system and ability to respond to the crisis.
Kevin Watkins, Save the Children UK’s Chief Executive wrote in The Financial Times that Africa faces a catastrophe to dwarf all others. If Italy, which has 41 doctors for every 10,000 people, is buckling under the strain, an average sub-Saharan country with about one doctor for every 10,000 people would not be able to cope at all. Because the Coronavirus knows no borders, we are in this together regardless of where we come from and each of us needs to do our part.
Save the Children is a leading organisation at handling pandemics with one of the most significant operational presences in all major humanitarian hotspots. We operate in 1,509 health facilities in 14 countries and provide support to Ministries of Health to 20,981 health facilities around the world. Our network of community health volunteers, the expertise of our teams based across the globe and the experience in dealing with complex health challenges in the most difficult contexts have had a lifesaving impact for millions in recent years. We have extensive experience in responding to outbreaks as is evident in their response to major epidemics, including yellow fever, cholera, measles and more recently ebola in Sierra Leone and the DRC. There are places some governments cannot get to so Save the Children works in support to reach the last mile.
Save the Children have launched theCovid-19 Emergency Appeal for Africa
Your contribution will help directly support 500,000 children and reach millions more across 15 African countries by making it possible for us to:
stop the spread of the coronavirus among vulnerable communities across Africa
provide protective gear like masks and gloves in areas of high risk of infection, distribute soap, hand sanitisers and other critical hygiene supplies and ensure safe water supplies are accessible to communities
creating behavioural change through radio, social media and SMS to spread accurate information and support infection prevention practices
support governments by deploying Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit which is on standby to assist governments across the region in anticipation of their health systems being stretched
train our extensive network of health volunteers to respond to Covid-19 in the community
make cash transfers (through mobile means where possible) to provide a safety net for vulnerable families who are in lockdown and self-isolating with no access to food or medicine
ensure we continue to do our existing vital work without which we risk more deaths than from the virus itself
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