President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned the international community against getting complacent about other deadly diseases in Africa during this Covid-19 pandemic season. The head of state said that deadly diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS still pose a significant health risk across the continent despite all the attention being given to the novel Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world for the past ten months.
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta urged the world to use the same tactics used to contain and eradicate COVID-19 to fight these diseases that have been omnipresent in Africa for the past 40 years or more.
“Even as we face current challenges (Covid-19), it shouldn’t be at the expense of pulling back on the progress that we have made in other areas such as malaria and polio,” the President cautioned.
The Jubilee Party leader was speaking Monday evening at State House, Nairobi during this year’s End Malaria Annual Council meeting convened virtually by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
President Uhuru said that efforts being taken to contain Coronavirus may inadvertently roll back the progress that had been made to contain malaria before the COVID-19 took over all resources in the country and around the world.
“Covid-19 has had a huge impact in terms of where we’ve needed to focus government resources and in some cases at the expense of ongoing programs that have been having success,” President Kenyatta told the council that is chaired by American philanthropist Bill Gates.
The Kenyan president said that going forward, all governments in the entire continent of Africa need to pool resources and share information regarding these diseases similar to the way they handled the fight against the current coronavirus pandemic. He associated this information sharing to the low prevalence of COVID-19 in Africa compared to other areas like Europe and the Americas.
“By pulling together as a continent to fight the Covid-19 situation, we have found that we’re much better able to deal with the scenario through greater sharing of information but also of pooling resources…this is something that we’ve learnt from Covid-19 that we can translate into our malaria agenda,” he said.
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta also urged the private sector to participate in the fight against COVID-19 and other deadly infections such as TB in order to fill the resource gap that government institutions have been unable to fill.
This was also seconded by Nigerian businessman and the continent’s richest person, Mr. Aliko Dangote.
At the meeting, President Uhuru Kenyatta was flanked by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mr. Mutahi Kagwe.