Covid-19 and Africa

Written by Ulrike Schuerkens.

Let’s say: I’m not a doctor, but a university professor who is also interested in the socio-anthropology of health. I have been observing for weeks the development of COVID-19 around the world and particularly in Africa where the ManaGlobal project that I coordinate is taking place.

What I have noticed are border closures in the South and North which have prevented a certain number of contaminations triggered by travelers, especially in the countries of the South. Rapid political reactions in Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Morocco (where the ManaGlobal project is taking place), which I believe have largely prevented the spread of the disease. The treatments adopted, influenced by the proposals of the university professor and director of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, Didier Raoult, have helped to keep the number of deaths relatively low compared to the many deaths in Western countries. Senegal and also Morocco have adopted the protocol suggested by this controversial doctor in France where his treatment is only allowed for serious cases in hospitals. These serious cases show in the West certain common characteristics: advanced age beyond 65 years or even more, co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems etc.

However, the populations in the four countries where the ManaGlobal project is taking place are characterized by their youth and thus often healthier – despite poverty – than the serious cases in the West with high morbidity rates. The research found that children and adolescents are affected by relatively few cases of COVID 19 or – in case of contamination – they develop benign forms. Can it be concluded that the pandemic will instead have severe effects and high mortality rates in Western countries with different consumption patterns from those in the South and organisms exposed to very different food? The health effects of the pandemic in the South should certainly not be underestimated but the exposure to other pandemics such as malaria appears to protect African populations. Moreover, it seems to me that the limited rate of COVID-19 cases in China – although they are certainly underestimated for political reasons – gives a small glimmer of hope for the health consequences in the South, at least in Africa. The good choices made by doctors in several African countries in the face of the pandemic are compounded by the fact that the drugs proposed by Professor D. Raoult can be administered without the side effects expected in severely affected elderly patients in the West. Moreover, these are the medicines available in Africa (Sanofi Maroc) and known to the populations.

There remain the socio-economic consequences in countries characterized by populations often working in precarious and informal conditions. International and regional solidarity is beginning to be activated in the face of this situation, which exposes populations to famine and subsequently to hunger revolts that will not be long in coming if governments do not react. Confinement has not been applied in Cameroon but in Morocco; in Senegal, a curfew reigns at night in the face of populations who work during the day to meet their immediate needs. Wearing masks has been demanded in Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal and is being suggested in Ghana.

In conclusion, I would say that there is hope in the face of the health consequences of the pandemic in the countries of the South, at least in Africa. The socio-economic consequences are likely to be enormous in the face of countries of the North whose economies are at a standstill and whose importance for the socio-economic systems of African countries is well known.

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Newsletter 2019-2: Send us your content!

The deadline is December 2!

RC09 Newsletter is a platform to publicize your research and training efforts, to share what you are doing and what you have done with the global community of scholars around the world.

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RC09 Social transformations and Sociology of development

Ready to read: our 2019-1 Newsletter is out now!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue!

Nesletter 1-2019

Our new Rc09 Newsletter issue N° 01-2019 is out and you can  find it here: READ NEWSLETTER

Together we collected 30 pages of relevant and current content from the RC09 members to the community interested in research on social transformations and sociology of development.

In this edition, you will find the following:

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In the city of Porto Alegre (Brazil), the IV ISA Forum of Sociology will take place on July 14-18, 2020.

This Forum has the goal to address the discussions and projects around the interconnections and possible solutions over four pressing issues: Democracy, Environment, Inequalities and Intersectionality.

We invite all RC09 scholars to submit session proposals until March 15, 2019, in order to participate in the sessions organized by our committee. Read more in the following link: https://rc09socialtransformations.org/upcoming-events/

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RC09 Newsletter – autumn/winter 2018

Take a look at the latest version of RC09 NewslRC09 newsletter_2018(2)_FRONT_PAGEetter (autumn/winter edition), prepared by our Editor Ilona Wysmułek!

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