It’s about a year and a quarter since we were struck by this pandemic and it has had its challenges. Although we haven’t died in big numbers like they have died in Brazil, in Europe and elsewhere, we have had a lot of economic challenges. The pandemic has compromised our way of life, it has overwhelmed our hospitals, it has completely disorganized our educational programs, it has created a lot of unemployment, and it has overwhelmed our governments, private institutions, families, communities within Afrika and globally. And it has taught us one lesson, that the Afrikan way of doing things is the way to go.
Afrikan people lived by supporting one another. They lived by addressing life’s challenges holistically, in an integrated manner. Now that our government is overwhelmed, our hospitals are overwhelmed, our schools are overwhelmed, the recurrent lockdowns have put the educational process upside down, communities have to think of a way forward in the ‘new normal’. In my own view, communities have no alternative, they have to embrace an integrated self-help initiative, whereby each community has a center where those people who need medical attention, agricultural advice, psychosocial counseling etc. can go to.
The scenario of people taking sick people from one hospital to another, such that they die in the car, is not sustainable. It is very dangerous in that the sick are spreading the disease not only to those who are attending them over a whole day, over two days, but also to those hospitals. They are taken from one village, to a nearby hospital, to a distant one and, eventually, the patient dies either in the car or somewhere in the bush.
The way out is, we develop an integrated self-help center that has volunteers who can deal with people’s problems throughout the entire spectrum of technology: medicine, agriculture, psychosocial etc. so that those who are desperate, particularly those who run away from the city to the villages, who have nothing to do, who get depressed have somewhere to go. Those students who are sent home when schools are locked by the pandemic lockdown, who are at home day in, day out; the students are frustrated, they are stressed, they become a nuisance to their parents, they must have a place they can go where we have experts in education who can handle the needs of those students in such a way that there is at least a bit of continuity to their educational program. For example, if they were doing agriculture or they were doing medicine, we have many retired clinical officers, retired nurses, we have retired teachers, we have retired psychosocial experts.
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