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Complacency will worsen Africa’s COVID-19 situation – Idogho

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The Society for Family Health (SFH) has warned Nigerians and other African countries against celebrating the slow increase in COVID-19 cases, as the rising level of complacency and hasty jubilation signals a looming danger.

The Managing Director, SFH, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho, in a statement, said Africa has defied some of the initial scary projections on the pandemic’s growth path, which suggested that 45 countries would have more than 10,000 cases by the first week of May.

Reviewing the development against the literal doubling of Nigeria’s cases from 1,095 cases as of April 24, 2020 to 2,017 cases as of May 1, Idogho said: “This increase within a week, and the ongoing expansion of testing would suggest that we take another look at these projections – rather than the emerging euphoria and complacency that Africa has an alternate pathway for COVID-19 transmission.

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“I strongly suggest an alternate approach, based on a cautious and proactive reflection on these numbers, as unfortunately, we are unable to work out where we are on the infection curve.

“The bitter experience with the HIV epidemic saw the continent losing a significant number of its productive workforce and deepened the prevailing gender stereotype with women and girls as caregivers, and took the continent backward.” He warned that any complacency would see a worse situation than what the continent faced with AIDS and Ebola combined.

“The emerging trajectory of COVID-19 will thrash Africa’s weak health and social protection systems, deepening the spectre of poverty and lack for millions of households losing their caregivers, and productive members of communities.”

“The capacity for institutional care will collapse and the recourse to community management with its attendant impact will become the order of the day. Women and girls will be the worst affected, as the bulk of care will fall on them, eroding the nascent gains made on gender equality and economic empowerment in the continent,” he said.

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