25 mei 2020

Success Stories You Did Not Hear About

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I spent an awful lot of time over the last two weeks inside, reading for class. Lacking a particularly thrilling personal anecdote, this week I am simply going to tell you something you did not know.

Around 16 million people live in Senegal, and of that number only 33 have died from covid-19. On the day I wrote this blog (21/05/2020), this African nation saw less than 100 new cases, a far cry from my home country; the UK has exceeded 36,000 deaths, with over 2,000 new cases a day at the time of writing. This is a tremendous difference and it demonstrates the UK’s complacency when enacted response strategies. Senegalese health officials had begun forming their contingency plans in January, immediately after receiving an alert of potential virus outbreak. The subsequent contact tracing plan prevented incoming travellers from transmitting the virus unchecked. Ghana, with a population of 30 million, also sits at a death toll of 31, thanks to an equally extensive contact tracing plan that was designed around the lack of expensive medical equipment.

This patronising attitude towards east Asia is one of the reasons the disease spread through Europe at the rate it did

These innovative policies allowed Senegal and Ghana to mitigate the damage of covid-19, but these success stories have been awarded very little coverage on the wider media stage. This is thanks to the superiority complex that Europe has developed towards not just the African continent, but Asia also. This patronising attitude towards east Asia is one of the reasons the disease spread through Europe at the rate it did, and this same attitude is preventing us from learning lessons about how to overcome the virus.

How long will we hold onto the antiquated notion that Europe and North America supply all the worlds innovation and knowledge? We have to realize that looking for answers in the same place is the pursuit of madmen, and only by incorporating the successes of the African continent, not just in disease control, but in all sectors, could we perhaps begin to alter the patronizing mindset we have held.

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