As of the 15th of April 2020, South Africa had 2,415 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest number in Africa. Although the novel coronavirus pandemic has not yet caused widespread devastation in South Africa.
There is serious concern about the country’s ability to cope with its anticipated health and economic consequences. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been praised for his swift and decisive management of the pandemic, by announcing a 3-week total lock-down, which has subsequently been extended for a total of 5 weeks.
The economic implications of the pandemic, and measures to curb its spread, are dire for the 55% of South Africa’s population that live below its national poverty line, and in particular, for the 25% that already experience food poverty.
However, despite their economic impact, strict lock-down measures have been deemed essential. Large and crowded informal settlements are prone to the rampant spread of infection.
South Africa has more people living with HIV than any other country in the world, which together with high rates of tuberculosis and other diseases, place people at risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
In addition, South Africa’s over-burdened, and often failing, public health system is expected to be overwhelmed with the demands of this crisis.
African Enterprise South Africa is grateful for your prayers and ongoing support during this difficult time. In its initial response to this crisis, AE supplied and delivered 180 food hampers to vulnerable families in the Pietermaritzburg area.
The hampers consisted of staple foods, as well as essential hygiene items, to sustain each family for a duration of 3 weeks.
In addition, homemade facemasks have been distributed in the community, in keeping with the current CDC guidelines, as well as recommendations from the South African government.
AE has been able to distribute facemasks, together with Gospel tracts, thanks to the tireless efforts of AE South Africa’s Chair, Rob Langley, and his wife Bridget, who have made and donated these.
The staff of AE’s Ngezandla Zethu sewing project, facilitated by Ntombi Dladla, have also sewed facemasks for distribution in the area. May we also seek to help our brothers and sisters stand firm in faith and fight this pandemic in South Africa.
Ben Campbell is the CEO Africa Enterprise and Laura Bennett is a contributor for African Enterprise and radio host at Hope 103.2 based in Sydney.