The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week warned that the coronavirus cases could multiply from thousands to at least 10 million in three to six months as per provisional modelling even though it could be a tentative projection. Another Imperial College, London study estimated that Africa could have an eventual death toll of over 300,000 given the lack of medical facilities and capacity to effectively counter the pandemic’s incisive expanse. Another very gloomy prediction by the UN Commission for Africa stated that in the worst-case scenario when medical and prescribed social intervention is absent the contagion could infect the whole population of almost 1.2 bn with 3.3. million deaths. Even if an effective vaccine comes out it will require the world to look at this pandemic in Africa as a unique challenge where the international community must come forward to pool in resources and help now and not only when they perceive the “gold rush’ in the continent. Likewise, the Agenda 2030 was estimated to need US$11trillion which would be a challenge under the current circumstances However, the COVID has derailed the project at least in the medium term and will hit the already fragile economies rather bad. The continued low oil prices will hurt the economies of oil-producing and exporting countries and likewise, the ones that are dependent on minerals and commodities will find it difficult to address the Corona impact due to inelasticity of demand and supply cycle in these times. Earlier in the month UNGA adopted a resolution co-sponsored by India and 187 countries calling for intensified global cooperation and solidarity to defeat the deadly disease that is causing serious disruption to societies and economies. Under the Pan Africa e- network project and subsequent e-Arogya schemes for telemedicine, India could initiate an online training programme for health workers and professionals apart from providing requisite critical supplies, financial assistance and medical teams. As such India’s fight against the pandemic has been widely appreciated as the infections and deaths remain rather low due to timely action and an effective strategy. India -Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is supposed to held later this year but COVID 19 is an unfortunate opportunity to kickstart the assistance in health care sector.
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