We are living through strange times the world over due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Government restrictions in place in Australia and Tanzania, football training, clinics and programmes have been suspended and schools closed. But despite the inactivity, as coronavirus begins to spread in Africa, your help is needed more than ever.
As of May 4, Tanzania had recorded 480 confirmed cases of the virus and 16 deaths, according to the global authority, Johns Hopkins University. However, in an article reported on the same day in the leading medical journal The Lancet, UK trauma surgeon David Knott warned the window was closing to help prevent a pandemic catastrophe in Africa.
“The main positive influences on reducing the number of deaths from COVID-19 have been handwashing, social distancing, and the lockdown,” he said in The Lancet.
Acknowledging that war and refugee settings posed greatest risk, he added: “For the most vulnerable people on this planet, such strategies are not an option.
“In fragile settings, there is no massive infrastructure like the [UK’s] NHS. There are few ventilators… no piped oxygen, electrical power cuts are common, and the health workforce capacity is unlikely to be enough to deal with even a small number of COVID-19 cases, never mind the potential of thousands of deaths from this disease.”
Afterwards, speaking on Sky TV news, he pointed to a survey by the International Rescue Committee, on 34 fragile countries using Imperial College London modelling, suggesting infections and mortality on an as yet unprecedented scale, “if we don’t do something about it now”. Focus Economics lists Tanzania as the world’s 8th-poorest nation.
In Tanzania, our players are keeping fit by continuing with their daily chores at home, but it’s a struggle for our families who are always challenged in the income they can make and have seen their earning potential evaporate completely by being at home.
Likewise for some of our players, the school lunch your donations provided was their one guaranteed meal of the day. With no school they go hungry.
Meanwhile, one of our player-coaches, Goodluck Noah, who is training to be a medical doctor thanks to Lengo donations, is volunteering on the front lines at hospitals near Arusha, where even basic medicines are in short supply and protective gear is virtually non-existent
We are currently raising money to provide regular food packages to 200 families to keep them going during this time, to help their communities and medics by self-isolating. These hampers will include rice, dried beans, fresh vegetables and fruit and this will be purchased from our own players’ mothers who run local market stores in Ngaramtoni village.
Dr Knott added in The Lancet: “We can’t wait any longer, we have to do something over the next four to five weeks.
“We cannot wait for another four to five weeks because they will be in exactly the same position we have been in [in Western nations]. We have a short period of time to get it right.”
He said the only way to contain the coronavirus was by helping low income and fragile countries so that they do not suffer widespread epidemics.
“If we don’t then it’ll get out of control and it will come back to bite us in the future,” he said.
Whilst these are challenging times we are deeply reassured that the global community is standing as one to fight the virus and humbled if you would continue to stand with us as we support those most in need in Tanzania during this time.
Be safe, healthy and be blessed all.