By Taiwo Ajala
About 50 million Africans are expected to fall into poverty before the end of year 2020 as a direct consequence of the global COVID-19 Pandemic, a Goalkeepers Report, published annually by Bill and Melinda Gates has said.
The number is a sharp rise from an earlier pre-covid prediction of 13 million Africans falling into poverty. The report also sees double the death from malaria compared to 2018 numbers while at least 80 million children under the age of one worldwide “ maybe at risk from preventable diseases.”
Now in its fourth year, the Goalkeepers Report tracks the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using data to determine how countries are faring in the attainment of the global goals.
The report this year provides the most contemporary global data set for how the pandemic is affecting progress towards the goals. “ This year, by nearly every indicator, the world has regressed,” it said.
“In addition, the economic damage being caused by the continent’s first recession in 25 years is reinforcing inequalities. Women and other vulnerable groups are suffering disproportionally, those in low-income countries are struggling with food and school closures are unfairly disadvantaging rural children, “Gates revealed.
However, it is not all gloom for the continent as in spite of severe constraints, African countries are rising to the challenge. “Despite tremendous constraints, African countries are innovating to meet the challenge, and there is much the world can learn from the continent’s response. The government is deploying mobile testing units in South Africa, the private sector is raising money to bolster resources in Nigeria, and new and improved cash transfers are reaching millions in West Africa.”
The report also praised the response from people of various countries through their innovation and resilience describing it as the “ best of humanity.”
“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us some of the best of humanity: pathbreaking innovation, heroic acts by frontline workers, and ordinary people doing the best they can for their families, neighbors, and communities. This is a shared global crisis that demands a shared global response,” Bill and Melinda Gates said.
They also called on the world to collaborate on the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and treatment; manufacture tests and doses as quickly as possible; and deliver these tools equitably based on need, rather than the ability to pay.
“The report makes clear that no single country will be able to meet this challenge alone. Any attempts by one country to protect itself while neglecting others will only prolong the hardships caused by the pandemic. Developing and manufacturing vaccines will not end the pandemic quickly unless they are delivered equitably.
According to modeling from Northeastern University, if rich countries buy up the first 2 billion doses of vaccine instead of making sure they are distributed equitably, then almost twice as many people could die from COVID-19,” they said.