Mariama Badji is the Director of Communication of Cora and President of Africa Feliz Senegal. She lived several years in Spain and was one of the African women who supported our foundation most in its early days.
Has the crisis reached cruising speed or is the worst still to come? This is the question on everyone’s lips. The more time passes, the less certain it is that a quick solution will be found. 79 days after the first case in our country, the numbers continue to climb. Concern has reached certain sections of the population who are beginning to rush to buy artemisia, which can now be purchased in capsules, tea bags and powder. Currently, there are more than 100 community cases detected, not counting the legion of healthy carriers. The Ministry of Health and Social Action promises to strengthen the epidemiological surveillance system and urges strict compliance with barrier and preventive measures.
Everything is being put in place to build on what has been achieved. Whether or not it was done to general satisfaction, the vulnerable people who need support have been provided with food, masks and disinfectant. However, this aid does not meet with unanimous approval and is creating controversy that takes us away from what is essential. As for the awareness campaigns, they are legion, but not all of them are convincing. They do little to raise awareness and bring about real changes in behaviour.
Social distancing is not rooted in our behaviour and it is a real concern in our country. Wearing masks has become a reality as well as systematic hand washing, and these are not negligible achievements.
Failure to comply with curfew, restrictions in inter-city transport and markets calls for new methods in public places. In the blessed month of Ramadan, bakeries are overcrowded with oversized, substandard lines. The community cases have finished touring the regions of the country and each day brings new cases that worry people.
The involvement of community leaders in the fight against the spread of Covid 19 would be welcome in the inner regions and on the outskirts of the capital. This is imperative so that health authorities can refocus on the critical issue of health in these Covid times. The latter, in collaboration with the associative fabric, are able to work in the advertising so that the populations appropriate the new behaviours. They are better equipped to raise awareness but also to reach the hearts of Senegalese people. They will be able to get involved in the fight for healthy eating. But above all, they will be able to find solutions in a situation of domestic violence that is on the rise.
Covid 19 also highlighted the Senegalese genius, as young and old alike responded effectively and efficiently to the nation’s call. Expertise and knowledge in a lot of innovation is the cocktail served to start robots that serve meals and other accessories to people in quarantine. Artificial respirators, automatic gel dispensers that speak several languages, hydro-alcoholic gel… ; student researchers from the Universities of Dakar, Thies and Ziguinchor and the Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar have struck hard.
The tailors in this creative drive also participated actively in the war effort with the making of masks. The Ministry of Industrial Development, Small and Medium Enterprises, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, in a decree nº9450 of April 24, 2020, has set up a standard NS15-O14 adopted by the technical committee on health, with minimum requirements for manufacture and use.
This pandemic has boosted the creative genius of Senegalese, this should create added value and thus enable us to rely on our own strengths and skills in all circumstances.
Fatima is a woman over 50 years old full of love that commands respect at first sight. Her combativeness in the face of breast cancer in times of coronavirus enlivens every conversation. She has learnt to handle relationships carefully and with enthusiasm on social medias. She is an inspiration to many women and young people who have been overwhelmed by the uncertainties of this pandemic and have become depressed. She collaborates with our association and reassures by her wisdom and talent that she wants to put at the service of others for a more united future.
Through the webinars that we organize with small groups several times a day, she invites respect for the barrier gestures and always reminds us that it takes great sacrifices to bring help and assistance. This is why she advocates the word as a healing mechanism and thus develop strategies to deal with the dysfunctions in our lives. Through conversation, as a true pedagogue, she summons cultural, religious and family fibers and calms ongoing conflicts. Her slogan: let’s stay mobilized, united and determined, it’s a long-distance race.
The world is dominated by capital, that is a fact, and developing countries are paying a high price for it, especially at the moment. This pandemic is an opportunity to work towards the understanding that the general interest takes precedence over profit and/or gain. All the bubbles are bursting, and no one will be spared. Solidarity will be our only victory.
Translated by Paola Fourcaud
Copyright © Mujeres por África 2020