by Auburn Mann
Amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, the respiratory disease which has infected over 4 million people worldwide over the past several months, the World Health Organization(WHO) in Geneva Switzerland has been a global beacon of information and guidance, led by the Ethiopian (currently Eritrea) born Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Dr. Ghebreyesus is a microbiologist with a background in malaria research. Born in Asmara in 1965, his path was pushed toward healthcare at an early age when his brother was one of the many casualties of mid-20th century, disease-stricken Ethiopia, passing from a preventable ailment like the measles. Ghebreyesus went on to graduate from the University of Asmara with a B.S. in Biology. After college he joined the Ethiopian Government’s Ministry of Health in 1986, where he helped implement system-wide health reforms that drastically improved access to health services in the country. Ghebreyesus would matriculate into the University of London’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where he earned a M.S. in Immunology of Infectious Diseases. Eventually, Ghebreyesus would earn his PhD in Community Health from the University of Nottingham in 2000.
In 2001, he was appointed head of the Tigray Regional Health Bureau, which oversaw significant reduction in AIDs and Meningitis cases in Ethiopia. In 2005, he was appointed Minister of Health by Prime Minister Zenawi. He held this position until 2012, when he transitioned into the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In 2016, Ghebreyesus announced his candidacy for WHO’s Director General. He campaigned on ideas of universal health coverage and the endorsements of the African Union, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda and Kenya, as well as Algeria’s Minister of Health.
Dr. Ghebreyesus ended up winning in a commanding victory of 133 out of 185 votes. He was not only the first African to attain the position, but also the first non-physician
by Auburn Mann
As China braces for a potential resurgence in COVID-19 presence after more than a month of sustained flattening of infection rates, xenophobia has reared its ugly head.
President Ji Xiping issued a warning looking out for imported cases. In many cities and provinces Chinese officials have warned of a dreaded second wave as early signs have indicated maybe occurring in neighboring Japan.
This collective mood is particularly aimed at the African immigrant community, which already has shared a contentious relationship with the majority demographic of Chinese society even in relatively benign times.
In Guangzhou, where there are large concentrations from places like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda, especially in the Yuexiu and Baiyun areas, this has become especially acute. Many have shared stories through various social media platforms of being evicted from longtime homes, denied entry into shops, bars and restaurants, mistreatment on the streets, constant testing or arbitrarily being ordered to over-quarantine in their homes despite no record of recent travel.
By Auburn Mann
Senegal has taken a unique path in the war against Covid-19, by developing a $1 (N360.50) diagnostic testing kit.
In addition, instead of relying on overpriced imported ventilators, domestic Senegalese engineers manufactured 3D printed ventilators, saving thousands of dollars and allowing them to test every citizen regardless of apparent symptoms.
According to Aljazeera, any person that enters a health center is given a test module originally designed to detect malaria. The test works by patients drawing bodily fluids like blood or saliva onto the device and wait for a blood line to appear. If the person tests positive for the virus, they are given chloroquine that is used to treat Dengue Fever and other malarial illnesses.
Thus, giving the francophone West African nation the third highest rate of recovery in the world, with marginal deaths.
In a interview with Al Jazeera, Dakar Institute Pasteur Dr. Amadou Sall stated:
“The idea is to rapidly produce 2-4 million kits not just
for us(Senegal) but for other African countries detect and isolate patients quickly”.