“Why Are You Not Testing Aggressively Despite Receiving COVID-19 Aid?”
17 May 2020
Spread the love

By Nomusa Garikai- “Writing on his popular Facebook blog following his appointment by the African Union as a Special Envoy to Coordinate the Africa Private Sector Initiative for the Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other Essential Supplies, Masiyiwa says the key to stopping the disease in its tracks is to adopt the formula #ITTIT; inform, test, trace, isolate and treatment as a collaborative effort among the private sector, NGOs, businesses and faith-based organizations.”

What is the point of talking about testing, tracing, etc. when we all know that those in positions of power and authority to do these things and not doing anything about it. Zimbabwe has 42 confirmed cases but only because the country has not been testing aggressively and, when it has been testing it is the wrong people.

Two weeks ago government gave a directive that workers must be tested before they are allowed to go back to work and so the limited test kits, human resources and time are been being wasted testing workers instead of who are suspected to have covid-19.

One of the simplest and cheapest to implement WHO advice is: “Wash your hands thoroughly and often!” And yet we all know many African countries have done very little to make sure the people have clean running water. In Zimbabwe most cities, towns including hospitals and clinic do not have running water. The situation is even worse in rural areas!

One of the reasons why Africa has bad governance is that civic society, NGOs and private sector have all shied away from holding those in position of power and authority to account. They have stepped in to assist the victims of bad governance as if to say the ruling elite can continue their victims are being taken care of.

If Masiyiwa and his team of private sector and NGOs going to aggressively test, track and, most important of all, make test result public, for example. So far, only government officials are allowed to release information on covid-19 confirmed cases, deaths, etc. The regime has already passed a law with a 20-year jail term for reporting on anything other than the government censored data.

Besides African government have very deep pockets from the nation’s budgetary allocation and from donors. Last week the Zimbabwe government received US$ 7 million from the WB to help fight covid-19 and AfDB has just approved a US$13.7 million grant for the same purpose. Whatever Masiyiwa and his friends can raise in cash, material and human resources government’s contribution in kind will be significant.

My greatest concern with this initiative is that it is not doing enough to hold the errant governments like our own to account. Government has vast national plus donated resources in cash, material and human resources, which if employed to the good of the nation will go a long way to alleviate the economic hardships and the health suffering and reduce the death toll.

We should therefore be demanding to know why our government has not been testing aggressively. There are certainly many more covid-19 cases than the 42 government has reported.

We should be demanding to know why 80% plus of our people will have no clean running water for a day or more in this day and age?

Covid-19 constitutes the greatest existential threat of our generation victory will be measured in terms of how well we mobilised all the resources available and made the most of everyone of them. Having corrupt, incompetent and wasteful government, the biggest and most influential player, is a luxury we can ill afford.

A corrupt, incompetent and wasteful government, in this covid-19 era, will cost hundreds if not thousands of human lives!

Africa has ignored the critical importance of competent and accountable government for far too long. Those who believe Africa can hang on to same corrupt, incompetent and wasteful governments and still have a fighting chance against covid-19 are naïve, day-dreaming and, indeed, insane.