News about the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa from April 9th, 2020

Zimbabwe has been in lockdown since March 30th 2020. Our local project partners have applied for a special permit for the two Medical Drop-in Centres in Harare and Chitungwiza. Up to this point, the two centres could be open on two days. Medical Drop-in Centres like these are extremely important in the current situation, as people from the poorest sections of the population cannot afford to visit a doctor or access medication. In addition, it is under review as to whether prescription drugs can be authorised and dispensed by telephone via the Drop-in Centre. Patients normally use public transport to get to a pharmacy - they would no longer have to take this additional risk. Shortly before the lockdown, a food distribution could still be carried out. 

In Harare there are many people living on the streets, often young people or those with a mental illness. The only way they survive is by begging. With the current lockdown situation, however, this small source of income is now also disappearing. Local organisations have recently started offering temporary accommodation for the poorest people. There they are provided with food and blankets, but most of them also require medical care. We are examining whether and to what extent we can provide support.

South Africa has been in lockdown since March 26th 2020. The Soup Kitchen in Johannesburg could be opened for one more time shortly before the measures began. The extreme panic buying before the lockdown made it impossible to buy sufficient additional food to support the people in the meantime. Porridge was available for babies and nursing mothers – a type of porridge with many nutrients, which was developed by a South African doctor especially for HIV-infected people and babies. The government and city council have announced that during the lockdown period homeless people will be accommodated and have food provided in various places such as schools.

As in all our project countries, the situation in Africa is very difficult overall, as the poorest people there will also suffer most from the Corona crisis.