As the world reacts to the Coronavirus pandemic’s scourge to our society, the most vulnerable people who are ill, the disenfranchised and the homeless are the most vulnerable people in the world to COVID-10. Africa’s current programs to stem the onlaught of the COVID-19 virus is challenged with the ‘informal economy’ of some of the Arican communities making nationwide and citywide lockdowns, quarintines, and ‘shelter-in-place’ practices harder to implement than other developed countries. Also, these rural poor people are currently more concerned about how to feed and shelter their familes for the next week than to worry about a spreading virus they know little about.
Africa is also battling other diseases such as malaria, cholera and HIV that further comprimes the rural poor’s immune systems with other inflictions and malnutrition. Most of Africa’s rural poor live in difficult-to-reach areas that don’t have access to the 24/7 media deluge of how to prevent and treat the most contagious virus in modern man’s history as their neighbors are experiencing in the more developed regions of their country
Immediate action needs to be taken now to deploy a model program that informs Africa’s rural poor of how to change their cultural patterns of close physical contact and start to practice the sanitation, ‘social distancing’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ practices combined with basic health care services.
Rwanda, the 2nd smallest country on the African continent sometimes called ‘the heart of Africa’, has been a shining model of leadership in the African continent launching many new 21st-century technologies and progressive programs.
APESEK which is a leading youth and health care NGO in the Rutsiro District in western Rwanda and strategic partner to IDEA, is launching a solution and model program for the African continent that addresses this pandemic challenge.
Rural Medical Services (RMS) Model Program
- Installation of Handwash Stations for 2,500 Poor Families in Rutsiro District
- Rwanda Training program for 180 nurses working in 17 health centers and the Murunda
- Distribution of 15,000 COVID-19 Message Leaflets
- Broadcast COVID-19 Radio Messaging that reach the rural poor with only simple cell
- phones and radios