Like many countries in Africa, Somalia is one of them that is yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or even know whether they will receive the vaccine in 2021. Somalia also finds itself where the majority of the population continues to downplay the pandemic yet it is claiming many more lives.
Some people fear that COVID-19 has proven to be deadlier than anyone knows. This is now creating panic for the leaders of the country at the horn of Africa.
With part of the country still held by the Al-Qaida which is linked to the Al-Shabab extremist group, it is places like Somalia that will be last to see COVID-19 vaccines in any significant quantity.
Some worry the virus will sink into the population as yet another poorly diagnosed but deadly fever. For 45-year-old street beggar Hassan Mohamed Yusuf, that fear has turned into near-certainty.
“In the beginning, we saw this virus as just another form of the flu”, he said. Then three of his young children died after having a cough and high fever.
As residents of a makeshift camp for people displaced by conflict or drought, they had no access to coronavirus testing or proper care.
At the same time, Yusuf said, the virus hurt his efforts to find money to treat his family as “we can’t get close enough” to people to beg.
Just as other countries around the world did earlier in the pandemic, Somalia’s government did attempt some measures to limit the spread of the virus, closing all schools and shutting down all domestic and international flights.
Many measures have been set out by the government but social distancing which is one of the most important ways of managing the fast spread of COVID-19 has long disappeared in the country’s streets, markets or restaurants.
On Thursday, some 30,000 people crammed into a stadium in Mogadishu for a regional football match with no face masks or other anti-virus measures in sight. Mosques in the Muslim nation never faced restrictions, for fear of the reactions.
Health Experts in Somalia Worry COVID19 Situation Could be Worse
A more important protective factor is the relative youth of Somalia’s people, said Dr Abdurahman Abdullahi Abdi Bilaal, who works in a clinic in the capital. More than 80% of the country’s population is under age 30.
“The virus is here, absolutely, but the resilience of people is owing to age”, he said.
It’s the lack of post-mortem investigations in the country that are allowing the true extent of the virus to go undetected, he said.
The next challenge in Somalia is not simply obtaining COVID-19 vaccines but also persuading the population to accept them.
That will take time, a concerned Bilaal said.
Source: African News
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.