Africa Media Bias is something that we often talk about. COVID-19 is making that discussion relevant again.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought human ingenuity to the fore. The situation has sparked a remarkable resurgence in the human spirit as people all over the world are striving in an inspiring bid to emphasize man’s most primal instinct, survival.
Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed over 300,000 people globally and effectively dragged the world into a recession. Countries have made frantic efforts and have explored a vast array of measures to combat what many agree is the worst pandemic the world has seen in at least a century.
The news is awash with stories of countries taking steps in developing vaccines for the virus. There are even reports that say we are likely to have one by the end of the year, a perspective shared by U.S. President, Donald Trump.
Nonetheless, the pandemic has found a way to bring to the fore, once again, the lens of condescension and bias, through which the African continent is often viewed. Although Africa is making considerable strides in its fight against the disease, it barely gets any positive coverage from the global media powerhouses.
For example, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 16 received orders of Madagascan-made herbal cure for the virus, COVID-Organics, and even though he emphasized the importance of still subjecting the herbal cure to regulatory authorities for more rigorous testing prior to administration to patients, the news was largely unnoticed.
Numbers of Covid-19 cases in Africa Stay Low – Not Many Are Celebrating
Even the fact that the continent has managed to keep its numbers relatively low, in the face of such an overwhelming crisis, that too has been ignored by media around the world. This should be much cause for celebration and a source of really big international headline news.
Why the numbers in some countries are low is being attributed in part to well-managed programs such as Senegal’s Health Emergency Operation Center, known by its French acronym, COUS, and its effective strategy of getting everyone in the country tested quickly. Instead, what we have heard from those who continue to discount the continent is the idea of the poor testing capacity of its countries, rather than their effective leadership.
Created in late 2014, COUS was put in place in reaction to the even deadlier Ebola outbreak which affected three countries in West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
All of this is not surprising, considering most of the pandemic-related news about the continent has been largely negative, with an emphasis on the dire socio-economic realities of many of its populations, rather than the significant headways made.
Nevertheless, the continent seems to be defying all odds, and the casualty projections that have estimated deaths from the virus there to be anywhere between 300,000 to 3.3 million, appear to be nothing more than a harsh indictment of the socio-economic realities on the continent, strengthened by an appalling Africa savior mentality.