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Published On: Mon, Apr 20th, 2020

Coronavirus: If the government can sustain curfew, Can Nigerians sustain hunger?

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By Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo

African countries have been under suffocate of diseases that have been ravaging the people for very long time and governments only give little attentions to such diseases but why Africa is so scared and devastated with Coronavirus? This is the rhetoric questions many are asking at this shutdown moment.
Malaria is one of the mass past killer syndrome that keep annihilating Africans for very long.” The 2019 World Malaria Report estimated that there were 405,000 malaria deaths globally in 2018, ” Africa Check, (
The report added that “if 822 people died of malaria every day of 2018, Nigeria would have accounted for 72% of the global malaria death toll for that year.” More than 90% of the estimated 300–500 million malaria cases that occur worldwide every year are in Africans, mainly in children under five years of age. Giving the total figure of about 263 deaths a day. The ratio of death Nigerians estimated for Malaria stand at 95,844 in 2018.”
Maternal Mortality is one of the setback ravaging global progress that claims lives of pregnant women. “For example, in a population of 100, 000 people with a high birth rate of 40 per 1000 and a high maternal mortality ratio of five per 1000, 20 maternal deaths would occur every year.” Though there is a significant drop in maternal mortality. Between 2000 and 2017, South Asia achieved the greatest overall percentage reduction in MMR, with a reduction of 59 per cent (from 395 to 163 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births). (Maternal mortality in Africa: investigating more, acting more, Michel Garenne)
Cholera is most seen as African infection that kills in hours originated from India where it killed over 800,000, before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by unhygienic environment and unclean water which is the bases of most African countries. “Cholera in Africa was estimated each year for 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21, 000 to 143, 000 deaths worldwide” (World Health Organization, WHO).
Pneumonia is the ultimate killer malady in Africa due to insufficient kits and tools for treating the ailment. Pneumonia and other respiratory disease are responsible for the death of 800,000 deaths of Africans in every year. (Answer Africa, Top 10 Diseases in Africa – Most Deadly)
There are many pandemic diseases that are killing millions of Africans that can be cured with less than 2$ to 5$ with trained medical manpower, vaccines and sensitization programmes but most African hospitals are malfunction and inadequate with good facilities for treatment and medication. According to Letitia Adu-Ampoma, of Sandoz, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis: “The number, quality, and capability of health care workers across countries as a ratio to the population is low.” African nations are lacking efficient health facilities for front action to diseases that keep suffocating millions of lives. In Nigeria the story is not different The role of the Nigeria’s government has been narrowed to the management of Federal Medical Centres and Universities` affairs. The state government is responsible for general local hospitals and providing primary healthcare centres in Nigeria. The total cost of GDP from the healthcare sector in Nigeria is 4.6%. At the same time, the expenditure on GDP from the government’s side is 1.5%”, George Ibenegbu.
Many factors are responsible for the shrinking of Nigeria and other African nations medical health centres ranging from corruption, lack of sensitization, improper medical management, ill trained doctors and nurses, lack of medication and sophisticated medical facilities, meager funding from government and little or lack of doctor – patients relationship.
Coronavirus may be a pandemic diseases but it is not endangering like other diseases in Africa. European Scientists are in marvel why Coronavirus is not killing Africans like other pandemic diseases. The “New Scientist” posted saying it did not know why Coronavirus is not killing Africans. The only records in Africa were from Morocco and Egypt one for each while the report didn’t cover the case of Achimugu death of Nigeria. “New Scientist” report proffered that the mild effect of the disease may be for the high temperature of the African region which the disease will not withstand.
Coronavirus is not a pandemic disease in Africa like some other diseases highlighted above. Nigeria tested its first Coronavirus case on 27th February, 2020 with only one person speculated to die by the ailment, and as of 29th of March having 99 positive cases while some recovered from the virus. This seemed Coronavirus is not mostly the deadly disease in Africa when looking at some diseases that kill past in hours. This may be the reason why Nigeria sensational singer, Seyi Shay via her twitter handle advised Nigerian government to consider other diseases ravaging the country. Seyi questioned the Nigerian government on why it has directed all of it attention to Coronavirus while people are still dying and suffering from malaria and typhoid and even hunger which is the most pathetic disease?
World Health Organization has testified that “African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden and Malaria medical services up to today is not free in most African countries including Nigeria but this may be the time of Africa awakening for improvement and advancement in health care to maintain all diseases like it took measures on Coronavirus.
For what that happened from the outbreak of Coronavirus in Africa and Nigeria my country, Nigerians would hope that this care and compassion to continue from all diseases in making medical facilities free for all citizens inline of the Health Care Project of Right to Medication. This is not all but the government of Nigeria should toe the line of other countries in relieving the tensions because hunger is the most devastating disease that is locking Africa and killing Africans.
In a situation like this in a continent that most citizens live beyond 1$ per day if Coronavirus did not kill Africans poverty will do because of the closure of businesses and shutdown of economy ventures. The African Development Bank (AfDB) definition of middle class as those with a daily of consumption $2-$20. The study stated that middle class are those with an annual income greater than $3,900. The Bank report based the classes of Africans into categories as the study said the middle class category comprises of 60% of the so-called middle class that went into the first category – individuals with a consumption level of $2-$4 per day. The researchers labelled the “floating class”, with individuals within it extremely vulnerable to falling below the poverty line of $2 per day if struck by an unforeseen disaster, expense or unexpected rise in the cost of living. Meanwhile Standard Bank study had shown that only 15Million Africans fall in the middle class category. The investigation “put Nigeria’s middle class at 4.1m or a mere 11% of the population. It estimated the middle-class population to account for just 21% of Angola’s households, 14% of Sudan’s, and around 10% of Zambia’s. Furthermore, Standard Bank’s research found that most African households remained in a low-income band − an overwhelming 94m individuals, or 86% of the sample population. (African Business Magazine)
The World Bank categorized classes of poverty using three poverty “lines for global poverty comparisons. $1.90 is the international poverty line (IPL). $3.20 is typical of national poverty lines in lower-middle income countries (LMIC). $5.50 is typical of national poverty lines in upper-middle income countries (UMIC). $15 is the middle-class threshold. ” and the report stated that 85% of Africans live on less than $5.50 per day with most polygamous nature of the Africans. At this time most Africans will die for hunger not the Coronavirus that World Medical Experts testified it has less effect on us.
A speculated message was circulated through social media that the Federal Government of Nigeria will freely give each of its citizens N30,000 to suppress the suffering of the people in the lockdown period but the Federal government disputed the story as nu and void through the presidential Spokesperson, Demi Adeshina.
Africa medical experts should breakthrough all possible ways to know everything about this disease and take appropriate steps suitable to our conditions for us not to continue to be slaves of our ignorance. Though globalization is realistic but we should know we have different genes, weather, temperature and regions, level of income and economy. Our governments should rise to our objectives, systems and problems and designed proper ways to curtail them so that we should not be puppets of our underdevelopment and caused death but we should continue to pray against this world malady, progressing to make researches for its cure and solicit for world assistance to assist the masses.

Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo, Lecturer, Mass Communication Department, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna,

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