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COVID-19 Report for East and Southern Africa

taylor nyanhete
Rev. Fr.Taylor Nyanhete
East and Southern Africa
ICSW Regional President

In Southern Africa, the most affected country is South Africa in terms of infections and deaths. It mainly affected the adult and elderly populations. Children are the least infected however deaths of adults have a direct bearing on children as this population has and continues to provide care and support to children orphaned due to HIV and AIDS. This is a reality in Southern Africa.

Many states have always struggled with social protection support to their populations even before the pandemic hit the continent. With the pandemic, many budgets are overstretched in this aspect and many governments have had to suspend many of its developmental initiatives to reallocate resources towards efforts that mitigate the effects of the pandemic Many schools closed and remain closed to this day since March. The debate is ongoing on whether to open them as teachers' unions demand that Ministries of Educations guarantee the provision of PPEs for free which is beyond what governments can do.

Industries have closed and most of the informal traders have seen their activities suspended which has affected sources of income for thousands if not millions of people. The governments social protection programs are overwhelmed and are heavily depended on donor support which is limited as many countries battle with Covid-19 in their respective countries Health delivery has been affected as the pandemic is of unprecedented levels which are difficult to cope with given that they had been struggling all along. The infection rates are rising every day with no solution to curing the disease. The shock of the pandemic is felt b everyone in society one way or the other.

PPEs are in short supply as well as testing equipment as specialized centers to admit those conditions that require hospitalization. Food insecurity is rampant in the Region as it has experienced consistent droughts and floods in other insistence. 

Violence has risen for women and children due to lockdown measures that remain in force at various levels in all countries. Many families are not used to closed spaces for long periods of time. 

Travel buns are the order of the day as no flights between countries are happening. Intercity transport is also prohibited and general public transport is restricted in many communities and many countries.

What are we doing in the region?

We are participating in national, regional, and continental platforms through webinars on COVID-19; Sustaintainable Development Goals Summit that happened in Africa, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe in February in 2020.  There is greater demand for Social protection services in all countries of this region.