Igad to give each member Sh10m to fight coronavirus

Wednesday May 13 2020
ETH

Cleaning staff disinfect for a metro carriage as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 20, 2020. PHOTO | MICHAEL TEWELDE | AFP

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), is sending a cheque of $100,000 (Sh10 million) to each of its member states in what the body’s Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu says is a “show of solidarity” in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

With numbers rising to 420 cases in the Igad region by Tuesday night, the bloc said it was sending money to help health ministries get more essential items that could help lower the rate of infections.

The money, pooled from staff contributions was supposed to help buy protective and to “support the brave doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontlines of this battle and help them win,” according to a statement released by Igad on Tuesday night.

MOST AT RISK

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control, a continental body charged with helping member states of the African Union coordinate response to disease outbreaks, the 420 cases confirmed so far have been distributed mostly in Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, signalling the three countries' connections to the outside world.

Mr Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, a Senior Political Advisor at Igad, told the Nation staff members “voluntarily” raised the money to go towards combating Covid-19.

“We expect the receiving states to earmark the contribution to acquire and distribute personal protective equipment for those most at risk … that is, frontline health workers and those patients [already] receiving treatment,” he said.

The countries under Igad, had already been calling for international support to help fight the virus, as well as cushion the economies from falling apart. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, for example, asked the world’s richest countries under the G20 to consider sending support to vulnerable African countries in the wake of the virus.

But how are they accounting for the money? Igad did suggest they were providing a free hand to member, but said they hoped the money will be used to fight the pandemic.

CONFIDENCE

Mr Sheekh said Igad “has confidence and faith in the ability of our governments” to use the money for the intended purpose in fighting coronavirus.

“The Igad Secretariat will work with international partners to mobilise extra resources to help support government priorities in combating covid-19.”

Other members had like Sudan had reported 14 cases, with two deaths and three recoveries while Somalia had seven cases with one person managing to fight off the virus.

Each of the member states had by Tuesday evening received their cheques. In Nairobi, Dr Solomon Munyua, the Director of the Igad Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) delivered the cheque to Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo on Tuesday.

Dr Workneh himself handed over Djibouti’s share on the same day.

THE NUMBERS

Kenya on Friday increased its tally to 189 cases, seven deaths and 22 recoveries.

Ethiopia has 52 cases, two deaths and four recoveries. Uganda too has 52 cases but no death or recoveries. Djibouti, the Red Sea nation had reported 121 cases but more than ten per cent (18 passengers) had recovered.

Igad’s move followed the historic virtual meeting between heads of state and government on March 31, where they discussed the “unprecedented global health crisis” affecting everyone on earth.

They agreed to jointly formulate a comprehensive regional strategy “and an accompanying implementation plan to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the Igad region.”

Hilton stressed that it was in the interests of Americans as a whole to address the problem, because — unlike high rates of heart disease or cancer — a wave of coronavirus spreading through the black and Hispanic population will ultimately impact everyone else.