The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has paid tribute to African scientists for the progress they have made in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and also commended Africans for their patience and support in the fight against the pandemic.
Using the opportunity of the 2020 Africa Day celebration, she said, ‘A shout out to African people, I thank them so much for the courage that they have shown, the forbearance under sometimes difficult circumstances. We are committed to continue in this fight with them. I would like to pay special tribute to African communities. It was said by the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros, that our leaders have put in place some measures to control the pandemic. We have seen African countries take very tough decisions to put in place some of the control measures. I am very pleased to have joined this celebration of Africa Day yesterday and especially pleased to have been in the company of special envoys on [Covid-19] in Africa’.
The Africa Day was done to commemorate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was founded on 25 May, 1963. The Day is an opportunity to celebrate Africa’s vitality and diversity, and to promote African unity. It is celebrated in various countries on the continent, as well as around the world.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said that the Africa Day 2020 was set aside to mark the successes and progress made throughout the African continent. He added that the celebrations were more muted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ghebreyesus noted that the early set-up of a leaders’ coalition led by the African Union, under the chairmanship of President Ramaphosa of South Africa was key to rapidly accelerating preparedness efforts and issuing comprehensive control measures.
He said, ‘Africa’s knowledge and experience of suppressing infectious diseases have been critical to rapidly scale up an agile response to [Covid-19]. There [has] been solidarity across the continent. Labs in Senegal and South Africa were some of the first in the world to implement [Covid-19] diagnostic testing and beyond that, they worked together with Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO to extend training for laboratory technicians for detection of [Covid-19] and to build up the national capacity across the region’.
He added that health clinicians, scientists, researchers, and academics from across Africa were collectively contributing to the worldwide understanding of the virus, and with WHO support, many African countries have made good progress in preparedness.
Photo source: Max Barners