KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – With all the focus on COVID-19 and Canada, and especially Nova Scotia, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world out there facing the coronavirus, and in many cases in much worse shape than we are here.
We shouldn’t forget, though, and we should care, says Huwaida Medani, an educator and diversity and inclusion consultant, who stems from Sudan and now calls Halifax home.
“I want to remind people that we are in this together, we are all impacted. If Canada is your front yard, then Africa is your backyard. There are six known cases in Sudan now, and they all came from somewhere, from Europe, from Canada, from the United Arab Emirates, from Saudi Arabia.”
Medani is worried about Sudan. She has family there, and she fears that once the virus takes hold there is very little to slow it down.
The country was until recently pillaged by a military dictatorship led by Omar al- Bashir. A youths-driven revolution took care of Bashir and established a transitional civilian government in parallel with the military, and signs of progress were everywhere.
But now COVID-19 threatens to affect millions and throw the unfortunate country in disarray once again.
“The transitional government inherited a failing state. There is no infrastructure in terms of health services, education. The previous regime had allocated 70% of the country’s budget to security and the military. The economy was totally failing, and education and the health system are virtually non-existent,” Medani says.
“In Sudan, people are living day by day. You have to go out to work, earn money, so that you can feed your family. There are five million people in Khartoum, and the people mix and work well together, supporting each other, which is totally the opposite of what the fight against the coronavirus requires. Now we need to raise awareness and explain how to engage in social distancing. And we need to have resources in place to help the medical staff.”
“It’s very, very, very hard for me,” says Medani. “My youngest brother is a medical doctor, and his wife is an emergency specialist. They have four children between 10 and three years old. He told me I have one box of surgical masks, and another box of gloves. That is all that he has in his clinic to fight COVID-19.”
“My major worry is really the medical professionals, because they don’t have the ways to protect themselves we have here. If the medical professionals contract the disease, that means who the whole country is just going down.”
Bad as things are, we must fight back, Medani believes.
“We cannot just say, okay, this is a hopeless case. It’s not hopeless. If it is hopeless here in Sudan, that means if it’s hopeless all over the world,” she says.
You can donate in support of Sudan’s fragile healthcare system through this Facebook Fundraiser. If Facebook isn’t your thing you can email Huwaida Medani, or e-transfer your donation to her, at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your support we can help the people of Sudan through the Coronavirus crisis.
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
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