Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How COVID-19 is impacting communities in Nigeria and Africa

(by Deaconess Ibironke O. Oremade-Oworu)

The Corona Virus Pandemic or the Covid-19 is an uncommon situation that showed up across the World and created a situation that the present generation had not witnessed before. The pandemic caused virtually all economies of the world to shut down. Movement within each country and across continents have been limited. 

The virus has caused so many deaths with some countries more affected than others. The western world, even with all the advancement in health care, has witnessed more death and has been greatly affected.

Looking at the effect of the pandemic as it affects Africa we might say that Africa has been very lucky because the fear at the beginning was that Africa Countries will be greatly affected especially in regards to our health care system and since no Country was prepared for something of this magnitude.

South Africa is the African Country that has been greatly affected with the highest number of infections and deaths.


Nigeria has also experienced her share of the Covid-19 infection but again the country has been lucky so far. The country has had 50,488 infections with 985 deaths and 37, 304 recoveries. 

The Government had to issue a lockdown of most of the country, causing businesses to shut down and people to stay at home. It was not a pleasant experience because most people earn their wages through daily labour or employment. When people are not able to go out during the day, then they are not sure of being able to feed their families. This was the greatest challenge at the beginning of the lockdown experience. 

The government acted by providing palliative measures in terms of cash transfer and provision of food stuffs to vulnerable families. However, this could not continue for too long because the population is so large. This challenge made the government ease the lockdown, so that people could gradually return to their businesses. There were stringent measures in place to curb the spread of the virus. The use of the facemask is compulsory even though the compliance is not 100%.

Another challenge which we have observed during this pandemic is the increase in cases of domestic abuse and rape. The rape victims have sadly been young babies, children, young ladies and even older women. When caught, the perpetrators of this evil act will most of the time blame the devil for their actions. There has been an increase in cases of fathers defiling their daughters and their family members. The government is concerned about this upsurge and is now working on enacting laws that will keep perpetrators of such acts away from the public for a long time. Some of our legislators and members of the public have suggested life imprisonment and castration for anyone caught in the act. 

As with other parts of the world, another challenge is how to get students to return to school in the midst of the pandemic. In Nigeria the government last week allowed students who have to write their final High School examinations to return to school just to write the examination - while observing all safety rules. However, in one State in the country, seven students writing the examination have already tested positive.

In the Archdiocese of Lagos, Deaconesses are working with relevant authorities and agencies to discourage domestic violence and rape through education programmes that highlight the importance of being vigilant with the girl child. As well, remembering that the boy child also gets raped. We consider gender when we speak about domestic abuse and rape.

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