[Posted Strive Masiyiwa’s popular Facebook blog]
Appeal for Africa’s healthcare workers!
As we prepare for COVID-19 to hit the African continent like a Category 10 Hurricane, we must not lose sight of the fact that the first responders and the true fighters are not going to be soldiers and policemen – even though they matter when deployed as part of our civil defenses – but #Healthcare workers, #Doctors, nurses, nurse aides, lab technicians, hospital and clinic workers!
They are the frontline fighters of this war!
You cannot send out a soldier without a gun, and you cannot send out a healthcare worker without the appropriate battle gear.
#1. Governments, NGOs, Businesses, and ordinary citizens must rush now to ensure that our #Healthcare workers are properly equipped for this battle.
#2. They must each have adequate Personal Protection Equipment [PPE].
They should not have to beg for it!
#3. Pay them:
We are asking these people to put their lives on the line. And as we have seen in China, Europe, and America, many may indeed succumb to this highly infectious disease. There is no amount of money which we can put on life.
But out of appreciation, we should pay them their due.
I’m hereby appealing to all African governments to put in place a 12-month emergency fund to cover this period.
The fund should pay all healthcare workers a special allowance of not less than 100% their current salary until this crisis is over. This has nothing to do with salaries.
Businesses and citizens should be encouraged to donate to this fund, provided governments first make their contribution to it.
Retired healthcare workers must be encouraged to come out of retirement, and be paid from this fund.
#4. Every hand to the wheel:
You cannot fight something like this with part-timers, and “flexitime” arrangements!
All nurses and doctors must return to work.
As I have shown in Zimbabwe, it is possible to also provide them with life cover for their families and school fees for their children.
In Zimbabwe, I will pay the school fees for life, for the children of healthcare workers who die from this disease.
Who will meet my challenge?
We may not have the time to build new hospitals. But we can deliver three things right now:
#1. Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs)
#2. Testing for healthcare workers
Africa needs a coordinated approach to securing ventilators. We cannot just go out and buy ad hoc whilst powerful nations leave us to the opportunists selling substandard equipment!
#5. Decentralize Testing:
Let’s increase testing and make it as easy as getting a Pregnancy Test. It was great to see Jack Ma send us some (testing equipment), but we need, as Africans, to get our own mass testing. Each African country must get a million test kits, if we are serious!
#6. We cannot “copy and paste” the concept of “self-isolation” from the West and China with 50% of our urban populations living in conditions that make it impractical.
We need a different approach to this.
#7. Home-Based Care:
We don’t have enough beds. So most people who succumb to illness will be treated at home.
Families need to be equipped and supported for HomeBased Care.
The #Healthcare Workers, are our soldiers for this particular battle. Let’s all get behind them, materially and morally.
Keep #Covid-19 out of our Villages!
Please, please don’t travel unnecessarily to the villages of our countries!
For the next two months, don’t go there!
#1. If this thing gets into our villages, it will not only kill an untold number…
#2. It could be extremely difficult to stamp it out, once it gets into the interior. This we have seen with Ebola in the DRC.
#3. Most of our old folks retire to the villages. This thing will be a disaster for them!
Listen to me on this:
You could kill your parents or grandparents!
There is another reason you need to think about:
If your country does not get rid of the virus, after it has been cleared in the EU, China and America, you will find your citizens being banned from traveling to those countries where it began…