16.04.2020 Opinion

COVID-19: A Wake Up Call On Our Health Systems In Africa

By Atuobi Daniel Boateng
COVID-19: A Wake Up Call On Our Health Systems In Africa
LISTEN APR 16, 2020

Some years back and quite recently, most of us, as Africans (which Ghanaians are no exceptions) sought health care in foreign lands. Our leaders have over-relied on the health care systems elsewhere in Europe, America and some parts of Asia.

The high ranks in the African society are proud to say "I just returned from the UK or America for my medical checkup", and this has become the order of the day.

A few days back, Melinda Gates, the wife of Bill Gates, one of the most influential and powerful men on the planet, said; "she sees dead bodies lying in the streets of Africa". One may ask what had prompted her in making such a remark. I can authoritatively say, she is not far from right, due to the porous nature of our health care systems in Africa at large.

Upon deep thoughts, if Americans who are touted as a world superpower, considering the size of their economy, and quality of health care they provide, are struggling in containing the deadly COVID 19 virus which has killed over twenty-six thousand Americans as at 14/ 04/2020, notwithstanding their rights and expertise, then Africans, and Ghanaians, for that matter, should really be worried.

Again, regardless of the quality of the health care systems in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom, they have still had their fatal share of the spoils of this deadly pandemic as their cumulative death toll has surpassed forty thousand.

UK's Prime Minister, Borris Johnson and Prince Charles who tested positive for COVID 19 were treated in their own country by their health workers. Can we as Africans repose the same confidence in our health care systems?

Now that most of our borders are locked and our leaders, politicians, high ranked citizens and the ordinary Ghanaian on the street are all now relying on the health care systems and medical professionals we have in our various countries, it is time for our leaders to concentrate on improving health infrastructure, laboratory equipment and the capacity of our medical professionals by allocating adequate funding into our health care systems in Africa.

The millions of dollars that our leaders and high profiled personalities pay for medical treatment in other continents should be channeled towards improving health care systems in Africa. Spending huge sums of monies on trips and vacations by the elite class of Africans in Europe and America can go a long way to provide quality health care in our countries.

It is also time for our leaders, to embrace the misfortune of the COVID 19 pandemic as a blessing in disguise to believe in ourselves as the black race to prove to the naysayers that after all, "THE BLACK MAN IS CAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN AFFAIRS" as declared by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Let me add on this note that, no matter how high the bird flies, it will not end up in the skies but will definitely come back to its nest.

Atuobi Daniel Boateng
[email protected]

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