As confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Africa passed the 1.9 million mark, number of deaths recorded from the virus on the continent has also moved beyond 45, 000.
According to the Africa Centers for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday, the number of people infected by the coronavirus in Africa has crossed 1.9 million with at least 45,954 people have died due to virus-related complications across the continent since February.
In this report, this reporter compiles some personalities who died as a result of the coronavirus disease in Africa.
Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s former President
Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s former President, died from complications of COVID-19, according to media reports from Ghana.
He died at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, capital of Ghana, on Thursday morning.
Rawlings, who is one of the most respected African leaders, was a military leader in Ghana and later became a politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001.
Dele Momodu, a former Nigerian Presidential candidate, confirmed the development on Twitter.
“The saddest news of this year. My God. Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana has passed on. I’m completely devastated. Good night, an African hero,” he tweeted.
He was until his death, the African Union envoy to Somalia.
Chief of Staff to Nigerian President, Abba Kyari
Though Nigeria had recorded 13 deaths from Covid-19 before April 17, the demise of Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the deadly impacts of the novel virus.
He had tested positive for coronavirus disease after returning from a trip to Germany on March 15.
His death was confirmed in a statement posted by Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesperson early hours of Saturday.
“Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” Adesina tweeted.
Several reports had it that Kyari had a history of medical complications, including diabetes and was transferred from Abuja the capital city to Lagos for medical care before his eventual death.
Emeka Chugbo: Nigerian doctor infected on duty
Emeka Chugbo, a Nigerian medical doctor, succumbed to Covid-19 after contracting the virus while managing an infected patient at his private clinic.
According to a BBC report, Chugbo was admitted to Lagos University Teaching Hospital on Monday and died on Wednesday April 15, according to the hospital’s director, Chris Bode.
Bode said the doctor was brought to the hospital with severe symptoms. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said the deceased was exposed while managing a patient who died a week before. His friend, Lawal Oyeneyin, said Chugbo who was 60 also had a history of asthma, his friend
Top South African scientist, Gita Ramjee
According to Anadolu Agency report, Gita Ramjee recently returned to South Africa from a trip to London without showing Covid-19 symptoms, but later fell sick and was admitted to a hospital in Durban on the East Coast where she died on Tuesday March 21.
Professor Ramjee was renowned for her work on finding HIV prevention methods that were conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women face, as well as attempts to find an effective HIV vaccine.
“We have indeed lost a champion in the fight against the HIV epidemic, ironically at the hands of this global pandemic,’’ South Africa Deputy President David Mabuza said in a statement.
Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule: Ghanaian renowned physician
One of Ghana’s famous doctors and a senior lecturer in the field of renal medicine, Jacob Plange-Rhule died after contracting the novel corona virus.
According to GhanaXtra.com, Plange-Rhule, a former president of Ghana Medical Association (GMA), reportedly passed away on April 10 in Accra, after a battle with the deadly virus.
Justice Blankson, GMA General-Secretary, said it was too early to tell whether the deceased got infected in the line of duty or not.
For a man who dedicated the better part of his life to curing the sick, his death has been described as an incalculable loss by persons within and outside the medical fraternity.
Pape Diouf, former manager of Marseille
A former sports journalist, a legendary football agent and former president of Olympique Marseille football club, Pape Diouf, 68, became the first Covid-19 victim of Senegal.
In a report by Africanews, authorities confirmed that he had been in intensive care in Dakar. Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.
“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.” Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region.
Ex-Congolese president, Yhombi-Opango
On March 31, former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango died after contracting coronavirus disease.
Yhombi-Opango died in a Paris hospital on Monday. He was 81.
According to Aljazeera, Yhombi-Opango was ill before he contracted the virus, his son told AFP news agency.
He led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, being ousted by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Zimbabwean broadcaster, Zororo Makamba died ‘alone and scared’
Thirty-year-old Zororo Makamba was “alone and scared”, according to his older brother who spoke to Zimbabwe’s privately owned Daily News newspaper.
BBC reports that Makamba was being treated in the Wilkins Hospital, designated as the main isolation facility for coronavirus patients in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Shortly after he talked to his family, he was dead.
The death of Makamba, a well-known journalist, came swiftly – less than three days after his diagnosis.
Rose Marie Compaore: Top lawmaker becomes Burkina Faso’s first COVID-19 casualty
Rose Marie Compaore was the first person to die of coronavirus in Burkina Faso on March 17.
The authorities confirmed that Compaore, who was the first-vice president of the parliament died aged 62 and was said to have diabetes, an underlying health condition.
President Marc Roch Kabore and Speaker of the National Assembly, Alassane Bala Sakande, were among those that sent condolences to the family via social media platform Twitter.
Legendary Manu Dibango
Manu Dibango died on March 24 in France at the age of 86 from Covid-19.
The iconic musician played a variety of genres and is known for one of his most popular songs, “Soul Makossa,” which was sampled by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.
A statement released by the family read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce to you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, due to covid-19.”
Born in 1933 in the city of Douala, he attended church from where he honed his music skills.
Celebrated for a unique blend of jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music.
Influenced bands from Kool and the Gang in the 1970s to hip-hop in the 1990s.
Ex-Somali Prime Minister “Nur Adde”
Former Somali prime minister Nur Hassan Hussein died on April 1, at a London hospital where he was receiving treatment for Covid-19.
Hussein served as prime minister between November 2007 and February 2009 and was credited with leading peace talks between the Ethiopia-backed government and Eritrea-based rebels.
“We extend our most profound condolences to the Somali people, friends and bereaved family of Somalia’s former Prime Minister, HE Nur Hassan Hussein who passed away in London, UK,” Somali PM posted on Twitter.
Abeeb Alawiye writes for The ICIR.