COVID-19: African governments urged to be transparent, prioritize vulnerable groups

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The Africa We Want project consortium, an alliance of prominent Civil Society Organisations (CSO) working to advance the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), has called on heads of states and governments in Africa to ensure transparency in dealing with COVID-19 as well as prioritize the needs of members of the vulnerable groups.

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and current chairperson of the African Union Image: AFP PHOTO / POOL / Themba Hadebe

 

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The consortium urged the heads of state to prioritize the safety of women, children, the aged, people with disabilities (PWDs), as well as people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart diseases whom they said, were at higher risk of becoming severely ill with the virus.

They said with almost all African countries currently either in a total or partial lockdown, “women, children, people with disabilities (PWDs), the poor and other primary beneficiaries in society will be plunged into extreme difficult situations as all their benefactors are unable to work or earn during these times.”

Consequently, they urged national governments across the continent “firstly, to include in their response strategies to control the spread of the Covid-19 provision of food and other forms of support to citizens. Secondly, when providing these forms of support, priority should be given to women, children, the aged, people with pre-existing medical conditions, people with disabilities (PWDs) and poor people.”

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“The high infection rate of cases being recorded has given rise to misinformation and disinformation which eventually causes fear and panic as well as mistrust between citizens and state authorities. It is, therefore, eminent that governments set up or strengthen existing bodies to regularly provide updated information to the citizenry through the various mass media platforms,” the statement added.

 

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