Jun 15, 2020
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects Africa like the rest of the world, but apparently not as badly. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 2,300 deaths from the virus. But the health catastrophe threatens to impact other diseases which are already ravaging the continent, like AIDS and tuberculosis.
Sanitation systems were cut back to the minimum. They were already insufficient to combat conventional infectious diseases. The resources devoted to COVID-19 are lacking for everything else.
In sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS treatment centers are closed. They can’t deliver anti-retroviral therapy to the 16 million patients who rely on it. In 2018 nearly half a million died from AIDS, but experts fear this year it will be twice as many. The same catastrophic mortality will result from childhood pneumonia, tuberculosis, and malaria. As for Ebola, the WHO was prepared to announce that this epidemic was over. But they had to delay the announcement when new cases appeared. And the same treatment shortages hit patients with diabetes and hypertension.