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Obasanjo, Mbeki, Kufour, others seek concerted effort to fight scourge in Africa

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• Rights group want inclusive response approach

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other African leaders, including Thabo Mbeki (South Africa) and John Kufour (Ghana), yesterday canvassed effective regional co-operation and emergency plan to combat spread of Coronavirus on the continent.

In a joint statement titled, “Appeal For Preparation For Africa To Confront The Onslaught Of COVID-19,” they noted the mitigating effect or otherwise by preparatory and preventive actions of different nations and international organisations to combat the virus since its outbreak.

They also observed that the results have been related to the seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken including the level of healthcare measures and delivery.

They lamented that the epidemiological progression in already affected countries had indicated that the worst case was yet to occur in Africa.

Festus Mogae (Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) and Joyce Banda (Malawi) and Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique), among others, canvassed serious measures to contain the national epidemic.

“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, conurbation and communal living of our people, particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster.

“As concerned African leaders, we note the efforts that African governments are making in spite of their limited resources to deal with the global challenge.

“We, however, appeal to leaders and elites at national, regional and continental levels, international organisations and foundations to draw up a concrete, effective and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 onslaught at its crescendo in Africa, which will be soon,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Plan International Nigeria has charged the Federal Government to adopt an inclusive and strategic approach in combating Coronavirus in the country.

The organisation declared a global red alert emergency on COVID-19 yesterday, while committing to working with Nigerian government at all levels by pledging part of its resources to causes aimed at tackling spread of the virus.

In a policy brief issued on the pandemic titled, “COVID-19: The Need For An Inclusive ‘People-Centric’ Approach,” it advocated decentralisation of screening centres to all states of the federation, as well as giving accreditation to diagnostic centres and private hospitals that have capacity for testing.

Its Country Director, Dr, Hussaini Abdu, however, commended Federal and state governments’ commitment to curbing the disease and encouraged the private sector to support efforts at tackling the COVID-19 challenge.


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