A risk mapping done by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies outlines the vulnerabilities and immense impact COVID-19 has in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solutions to restrict the outbreak of COVID-19 in parts of Asia and Europe – such as lockdowns, frequent hand washing, 1.5 meter distancing economy, and general social distancing – are inconceivable in many parts of Africa. Lockdowns will bring the entire informal economy to a standstill. In overcrowded urban areas and IDP/refugee camps millions of people live in close quarters without electricity or tap water, posing an extra challenge in containing COVID-19. Furthermore, medical infrastructure, especially intensive care facilities, are limited and concentrated in capital cities depriving the masses. Similarly, there is a lack of testing facilities and protective gear.
Furthermore, a pervasive lack of government transparency, combined with long-standing weaknesses in the media environment also makes the population more vulnerable to dis- and mis-information. In turn, the lack of available information, resources, and of freedom of movement for journalists, coupled with increased internet interference and censorship, further hamper the provision of adequate, fact based, relevant information for populations at risk. Media houses are finding it difficult to adapt their work culture to ensure safety and security of journalists in gathering information, while remaining connected with their audiences and hosting programmes. Social distancing and working online remain big challenges as well. In short, COVID-19 has great implications for the media sectors and societies at large in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Learn moreCoronavirus (COVID-19) information by WHO – Regional Office for Africa
COVID-19 mystery: What are the reasons for Africa’s low casualties by Down To Earth (14 April 2021)