Monday, August 10, 2020

Rwanda: Big brother?

Global voices, a site that publishes independent bloggers, has a report about how Rwanda is monitoring all their citizens.

a story complicated by their history of the massive slaughter during their civil war, and the impressive rebuilding of the country.

I have no expertise here so advise you just to read the story.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

covid in Zimbabwe

An article in Global voices (independent bloggers) on Covid in Zimbabwe, and the protests against corruption (stealing money meant to go to the folks suffering from the virus).

and AlJ has an article on the crack down on dissenters.

Chin'ono is accused of inciting public violence. He denies the allegations and says journalism is being criminalised.
He has written articles alleging corruption in multimillion-dollar deals to combat coronavirus that have been awarded to powerful individuals close to the government.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Coronavirus in Africa

AlJ link

There are 183,474 confirmed infections and 81,367 recoveries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts warn fragile healthcare systems in many African countries could be overwhelmed in the face of a severe outbreak of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
if you believe that the number of "confirmed" cases is the same as the actual number of cases, then you are a fool.

most of the cases are in Egypt and South Africa. Ah, but how many are dying in villages or in the neighborhoods and aren't getting a diagnosis? Especially if they are elderly (and in Africa, elderly means 50 years old) or have HIV.

One thing I haven't read much about: is the use of Chloroquin being done as prevention? Are people still taking Chloroquin for malaria prevention (even when I worked in Africa, Falciparum malaria was becoming resistant).

And what about those taking retroviral drugs for HIV? Are they dying at a higher rate (HIV affects T cells, which are the cells that fight Covid) or are the retroviral drugs protecting people?

Just wondering.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Black Lives matter (but not if they live in Africa)

StrategyPage summarizes the latest news from Central Africa.

Ebola is back, alas.

 While Ebola is one of the most lethal epidemic diseases ever encountered, a much less lethal visitor from China has recently shown up in Congo. The covid19 has, in three months, inflicted around 3,400 confirmed cases of covid19 virus in Congo and 72 confirmed deaths. That’s 37 per million people and 0.8 deaths per million. For all of Africa (including North Africa) there have been 120 cases per million and 3.4 deaths per million people. That’s far lower than anywhere else...
the only problem: the numbers are not accurate you know.

 There may be more cases in Congo but the country has little or no access to modern medical care and people regularly die of undiagnosed afflictions. Since most of these involve a fever, caused by the immune system trying to fight off some kind of infection, people call many fatal conditions an unspecified fever, and such fatal fevers are common.
Sigh. This is probably true here in the Philippines too. One of our neighbors had a fever and shortness of breath but died in the hospital of a "heart attack". I am pretty sure that he had Covid, but they didn't test him. I have no proof, but maybe because if a known case was found in that (private) hospital then no one would go their for routine illnesses.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

shut down economies from virus could lead to massive starvation

on my main blog, I have written about the increase in poverty and need for food aid here in the Philippines: my latest report HERE.

but not much is being written about how it might affect Africa.

There are some reports that genetics makes Africans less likely to get the virus, but that hasn't been the case in the USA. And in Africa, one wonders if the climate//sunshine might lower the spread (i.e. when it is warm, you don't have people indoors as much, but in todays' world of buses, factories, schools, etc that might not be true).

Virtueonline, an Anglican website, has posted an article about the virus in Africa: not a lot of numbers next to the many thousands who die from malaria or other common diseases, but the pressure to use western style prevention methods might make things worse.

and yes, many of these countries will stop planting the next crop for prevention of virus spread: but I wonder if this is overdoing it: Here in the Philippines after some mix ups about food and rice delivery trucks being allowed to go though check points, things have improved. And our farmers are harvesting here, even though we have a strict lockdown of our town (although one suspects family members won't be able to come back from Manila to help with the harvest, our people here in town can drive out to the farm in cars to help with the harvest... I don't know if this is true in other areas.

but this report of strict urban style lockdowns in rural areas is disturbing: If true, more will die of starvation than any virus.

Pastor Campos Afonso's report from churches in Angola is repeated throughout the continent where most states are in lockdown. The President of Angola declared a quarantine and State of Emergency from 27 March-11 April. All church meetings are closed. Pastors, leaders and members are observing the measures in their homes to combat the virus from spreading.
If the lockdown situation of COVID-19 continues it will affect the 2020 harvest because people will not be able to work in the fields. The lockdown means a shortage of work, tools and transport to take products from the countryside to the cities.
Lack of transport also means people cannot get from the cities to work on their family land to gather the harvest. Products collected this year will rot in the fields. New seeds will be in short supply for cultivation in the next year.
People are consuming the products that were being reserved as seeds for planting in 20202021 after having sold the December and January production. Most have nothing to eat in this period of isolation. Many could die of hunger instead of being killed by COVID-19. Locals say that church intervention is needed to help the most vulnerable people and poor Christians.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

DRC response to coronavirus

globalvoices has a report on the cases in DRC, which were imported from Europe.

 DR Congo has banned large gatherings, ordered school and university closures for four weeks and closed its border with Rwanda, all measures taken to stem the spread of the virus. The government also suspended all international flights from countries with a high number of cases of COVID-19.

Genetic puzzle on coronavirus

I had read a couple articles that mentioned Africans having fewer Corona virus cases and deaths, and I assumed that this was because of the sunlight/living outdoors instead of inside houses in the winter as in China and the USA/Europe, or maybe because a lot of Africans take anti malarial medicine to prevent getting that disease, or maybe just that they haven't done enough tests and people are sick without going to hospitals and getting counted.

But StrategyPage notes:

...Chinese researchers found that Africans are less likely to catch covid19 because they have one fifth as many cellular receptors in their lungs than Chinese. That difference enables covid19 to cause breathing problems more, or less, readily. ...
  Lung damage is the most frequent cause of death among covid19 victims. So far Africa, with 18 percent of the world population has only suffered about 0.3 percent of the covid19 infections. Africans are not immune, just less likely to get in infected or suffer the breathing problems that cause most covid10 related death

this doesn't mean they can't get sick or die, but merely that the disease might be less fatal in certain populations.

One wonders if this observation is seen in the African diaspora on other continents.

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