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COVID-19: Africa not a testing centre

Throughout humankind and modern history, Africa, and indeed Africans have been vilified and degraded by other races, notably the Europeans. Eurocentrism which gained prominence in…

Throughout humankind and modern history, Africa, and indeed Africans have been vilified and degraded by other races, notably the Europeans.

Eurocentrism which gained prominence in feudal Middle Ages, down to the beginning of the 19th and 20th Centuries could be found virtually in all European spheres- writings, literatures, politics and economy.

For decades, European countries and other superpowers induced inter tribal conflicts and coup plots in Africa which distorted peace and development.

Similarly, with a sinister motive, giant European and American pharmaceutical companies considered Africa a fertile ground for testing of newly formulated drugs, or vaccines.

Clinical trials they call it.   Regardless of the nomenclature, the danger inherent is unimaginable. The purpose of such trials is to ascertain the potency or efficacy of the drugs or vaccines on humans, and the reactions or side effect.

The choice of Africa as a destination of such trials is appalling, as it is evil, because they take advantage of its fragile laws and weak economy.

Poverty and inadequate health care delivery system leave citizens vulnerable, and making them ready tools for such giant pharmaceutical companies for clinical trials which has some devastating implications such as deformity, prolonged illness, and sometimes deaths.

The argument is, the focus of such vaccine trial ought to begin at the epicenter of the pandemic, and countries battling to have face masks and PPEs.

The number of deaths in a single day in New York is put around 1,200. Spain, Italy and France have neared a thousand.

Charity begins at home, they say, therefore, the clinical trials should begin there.

Africa cannot be a laboratory.  The pharmaceutical companies had surreptitiously and deceptively engaged in these trials for decades, in total disregard to regulations. This led to deformity, infertility, and even deaths.

CIVID-19 is a global pandemic; no doubt, vaccine trial in Africa is not the immediate remedy.

The most potent and urgent challenge in Africa remains security.

 

Abdullahi D Mohammed is with the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

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