The years 2014 and 2015 were those busy moments for Africa (mostly) and the rest of the world when an enemy virus called Ebola hit us heavily. I remember how the whole world stood upright to fight this transmissible enemy. There were a lot of education via media, training institutions and public places towards avoiding getting infected and stopping transmission from one person to the other.
Bleach (parazone) and ‘gun’ thermometer became our usual welcome upon every entry. This was not seen most in countries that did not record cases. The streets, shops and almost all entries to homes, public places especially hospitals in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were greeted with temperature checks, hand washing and feet steps with bleach.
This treacherous health emergency is history now because men and women volunteered and sacrificed their lives to fight this Ebola. The international health organizations, nations and ordinary citizens of different countries jumped to assist these three most affected countries. Many lives were lost. Many orphans, widows and psychological memory damages were created. Poverty took a bigger seat among the less vulnerable but a few greedy officials did ‘galamsey’ to enrich themselves.
When I was invited to travel to Liberia to assist in training in basic Infection Prevention Control measures (IPC), I responded (with my mentor Augustine E. Sagoe) as an opportunity to assist like I watch movies and see heroes and heroines saving nations. It was my first opportunity to travel across the borders of this country too. I faced a lot of challenges when I returned. Thanks to my family and friends who were there with me. I joined the second team of Ghanaian volunteers to Sierra Leone to fight this same Ebola.
This piece of paper cannot record the exposure, experiences and encounters with tears of pain and joy. But thank God I can write this story today because I came home alive. The Ghana team of 42 men and women came home safely but lost one person after she volunteered to stay back in Liberia. May her beautiful soul rest in peace.
During these dark moments of infected and death reports, Africa received massive support from all countries including China. The Chinese government donated a lot of protective equipment, drugs, ambulances, pick-ups and almost anything that could help Africa contain this infection.
Now China is hit by a colleague of Ebola, Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and Africa must appreciate and if possible, reciprocate this gesture.
Africa is blessed with a lot of volunteers who had first-hand experience with Ebola and are ready to go to China to assist. We will not only assist but learn best and practical tactics being employed towards containing this epidemic.
We might not be able to donate cars and equipment but our touch of love to give them more hands could strengthen their efforts to stop the spread of this virus.
Egypt just got hit by this unwelcome Coronavirus. Luckily, the WHO has announced that the person who had been diagnosed with Coronavirus in Egypt is no longer carrying the virus, and is well on his way to recovery.
The said patient however, would remain in quarantine until the 14-day period was over and would undergo further tests to ensure he had fully recuperated.
Fortunately, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reports that Egypt along with countries like Algeria and South Africa has the capacity to contain this disaster, but how about their brothers and sisters in West and Central Africa ?
At a recent engagement with Ghanaian journalists, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang had argued that no country across the world has the capacity to tackle the Corona virus than China itself.
That passes as a strong sense of determination to win the full victory over the epidemic which the WHO had declared a public health emergency of international concern.
In the media interaction, the Ambassador had indicated that more than 1000 people are cured of the disease each day with 16,555 people discharged from the hospitals as of February 12.
The number of confirmed cases per day in China, he indicated, had dropped from 3,887 as at February 4 to 394 on February 19, with newly confirmed cases in provinces, outside Hubei (the epicenter), dropping from 890 as at February 3 to 45 on February 19.
“As new effective drugs are being developed, be rest assured that China has every confidence, capacity and determination to win a full victory against the epidemic very soon,” he held.
The Coronavirus epidemic can break out in any other country and just as West Africa may have some level of expertise in handling Ebola, it is the same way China is best positioned to share its experience with other countries on containing the Coronavirus should any country be hit by the disease.
It is in this light that the move by Equitorial Guinea to donate $2 million to China amidst the rampaging outbreak is a step in the right direction.
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons argued; “China has always been a very strong and loyal supporter of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and this contribution is a demonstration that Equatorial Guinea stands in solidarity with China and its people as it fights a global outbreak that has already cost too many lives.”
“Our ongoing Year of Investment Initiative will be a testimony to the depth of our cooperation and relationship with China. It is a pleasure for Equatorial Guinea to support its partner in times of need,” he added.
China remains Africa´s leading commercial partner with high volumes of travel between both locations and it would be prudent we show solidarity to the Asian country as they marshall all efforts together to kick out the epidemic.
The writers are: Deputy Chief Biomedical Scientist and Technical Head, Immunology Department, Central Laboratory Services, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and ABIGAIL ANNOH
By Seth Agyemang, Abigial Annoh