Few Doctors, Fewer Ventilators: African Countries Fear They Are Defenseless Against Inevitable Spread of Coronavirus

Zororo Makamba wasn’t supposed to die of the novel coronavirus. Not just because of his age, which at 30 placed him well out of the at-risk category for COVID-19 complications, but because of who he was. A well-known, pro-government media personality in Zimbabwe, and the son of a prominent business mogul, Makamba had the wealth and the connections that should have guaranteed him the best care possible. Instead, on March 23, Zimbabwe’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus died alone in a quarantined hospital, three days after his diagnosis. Hospital staff, lacking protective equipment, were afraid to come near him. They had no drugs and there was no ventilator available. Personal calls to the President for a transfer went unheeded, according to an account by his brother published in a local newspaper. Makamba’s death shocked the nation, not just because he was a celebrity, but because it demonstrates just how unprepared the country is for a coronavirus outbreak. “If someone like Zororo, someone so monied and so connected, can’t get the right care, what kind of chance does an ordinary Zimbabwean like me have?” asks human rights activist Thandekile Moyo. As Africans watch rich and powerful nations such as the United States fracture under the strain, they are starting to ask themselves the same question. Like the categories of people most at risk from coronavirus, many sub-Saharan countries share the same underlying conditions that make th...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 Source Type: news

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