South Africa, as with many parts of the world, is experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic. While social distancing is recommended as the most effective way to reduce the spread of this infection; in many rural and informal settings in South Africa, people live near one another. Social distancing is often simply not possible due to shared facilities and overcrowding.
Furthermore, these communities are often poor, unemployment high and lack housing, water and sanitation facilities. They are also often a distance from healthcare facilities.
Predictions of the trajectory of the disease, point to the burden of disease being highest in poorer communities because of the higher incidences of TB and HIV and our inadequate, unequal and fragile health services and infrastructure. This is particularly true for the Eastern Cape, which is the poorest province in South Africa.
Given these scenarios and linked to education levels and poverty, the outlook for poor South Africans, who constitute more than a third of the population, may seem bleak for the continued presence of Covid-19 in these communities.
Many of these people are involved in the informal sector for their livelihoods, and as the economic slowdown takes place, due firstly to lockdown and the continued presence of the coronavirus, the impact on this sector of the population; will be compounded.
COVID-19 has the potential to become a crisis where unemployment, hunger and disease are widespread in these communities.
This in turn may lead to social unrest and civil disobedience.
With Heart Africa would therefore like to offer the following interventions in the short to medium term to mitigate the impact of the disease in both rural and urban communities of the Eastern Cape South Africa.
- Provide education and awareness of COVID-19 around
- early detection
- care, management and treatment
- access to services
- Distribute personal protection equipment PPEs (such as masks, hand sanitizers and sprays) to community members and vulnerable groups
- Strengthen the capacity of NPOs and CBOs and women’s organizations to respond to the pandemic
- Provide a database of retired professionals in the Medical and Educational sectors
- To support children learning at home and
- To support strained healthcare workers.