“A large percentage of the Burkinabe’s do not believe in the existence of the virus (Coronavirus), neither do they believe it’s a virus that can be contracted by blacks”
Shola Akingboye reports, 22 October 2020
In continuation of its human rights searchlights on COVID-19 and the specific measures to be adopted by governments in the sub-Saharan Africa nations in managing the crisis, the Human Rights Advancements and Development Center (HURIDAC) has released the Burkina Faso facts sheet with its recommendations and elixir to manage the pandemic from human rights perspective.
The NGO, according to its latest report signed by its Executive Director, Ayodele Ameen, reveals that the COVID-19 human rights environment in Burkina Faso is challenged by the violence crises, which started in 2016 by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its affiliates to cause fear and spread extremist ideology.
It further noted that the crisis has made over a million persons displacedin the just over 20 million population of a landlocked nation in the Sahel region ofW e s t A f r i c a. This led to the weakness in the delivery of effective and efficient government in prioritizing accountability, participation and non-discrimination in the country to the extent of weakening several sectors including the health sector of thecountry.
HURIDAC in its indebt research on COVID-19 situation of the country, noted that the socio-economic lapses that affects the country’s health sector contributed to the negative perception by a large percentage of the Burkinabe’s not to believe in the existence of the virus (Coronavirus), neither do they believe it’s a virus that can be contracted by blacks.
As HURIDAC climaxed its finding with crucial recommendations for the country, it submitted that it is the responsibility of the government and designated institutions to afford human rights to her citizens, by affording every citizen to have the rights to life and good healthcare
“this report shows how the government of Burkina Faso have managed the pandemic in respect to human rights driven by the Covid-19 data analysis of the country”HURIDAC opined.
According to the body, HURIDAC identified three major success indicators, as its human rights based tool for governments to use in managing the pandemic from human rights perspective.
These indicators are used to measure the level of rights the citizens of countries are being afforded.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in the Sahel region ofW e s t A f r i c a. T h e t o t a l population of the country is just o v e r 2 0 m i l l i o n w i t h a n estimated population growth rate of 3.1 percent per year having a high percentage of youths (younger than 30). Burkina Faso is among the poorest countries in the world—44 percent of its population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day—and it ranks 185th out of 188 countries on UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index.
Burkina Faso recorded her first case of Covid-19 on the 9th of March 2020, in the capital city Ouagadougou which presently remains the hotspot of the virus in the country, and officially declared by the government on 10th March, 2020. The first death caused by the virus in Sub-Saharan Africa was recorded on the 18th of March,2020 in Burkina Faso.
The present state of violence and insecurity in the country, leading to an increase in the number of displaced persons, and the surge of the virus (Coronavirus) has deteriorated the rights of the citizens to access proper healthcare, food and water.
- Success Indicators
Based on the report published by HURIDAC on the Human Rights Perspective of Covid-19, the report identified three major success indicators, a rights based tool for governments to use in managing the pandemic from human rights perspective. These indicators are used to measure the level of rights the citizens of countries are being afforded.
- Efficient Management of Covid-19
On the 21st of March, 2020, the government of Burkina Faso closed its borders and introduced a curfew to curb the spread of the virus. The government adopted several containment measures, including social distancing, closure of schools and universities, cancelation of major public events, closure of terrestrial borders, suspension of commercial flights, quarantine of the affected cities and the mandatory use of masks nationwide. Upon lifting the ban on movement in late April,2020, the government eased some social and economic restrictions by reopening of some urban markets and religious worship centres.
On 1st August, 2020, ban on commercial flights were lifted followed by testing and quarantine for new arrivals with measures such as social distancing and the use of masks still inculcated.
- Quality of Public Health Systems
A country with a life expectancy of 62 years and infant mortality of 88 per 1000 birth, ratio of physicians to patients, less than 1 (0.45)physician to 1,000 patients and presently grappling with insecurities making over a million person displaced, has greatly overwhelmed the health care system of the country.
Access to potable water is relatively good in the urban area but in rural areas less than half the population has access to clean sources of water.
This makes it difficult to carry out basic hygiene practices and also follow the Covid-19 guidelines. However, in real terms the funds dedicated to the health sector are inadequate and there are large gaps in health service needs and the existing provision of services.
The state of health care in Burkina Faso is poor, as a large number of the population now live within 5 km – 10km to a public primary healthcare facility. In some areas it is now even harder for people to reach healthcare services. Throughout the country more than 100 health facilities have been closed in areas affected by the violence,
with others operating at minimum capacity. Some have seen their access to health care cut or seriously reduced since 2019 due to the escalation of violence. As of February 2020, about 109 health centres were closed and 140 are operating at minimum.
- Citizens Compliance
One of the success parameter in managing the Covid -19 pandemic is the citizen’s compliance to all directives by the government and guidelines stipulated by the healthcare authorities. The citizens of Burkina Faso are only not gripped by the presence of the virus but also by the state of insecurity in the country. Although with the
curfew enacted in some part of the country, most displaced persons are confined in the camps and as such are obligated to follow all the rules set in the camp.
- Goal of the analysis
The goal of this analysis is to highlight the human rights perspective of the government in the management of the pandemic and the privatization of citizen’s rights to life and to affordable healthcare.
The fact sheet helps to identify areas where the government and other concerned institutions have to improve their performance and provide better services to the populace.
- Confirmed Cases
Number of positive cases to increase from 1 to 2056, giving a total of 2, 056 cases as of September, 30th. Number of deaths increased to 58 during the reporting period. The survival rate increase to 35% following the decrease in the number of daily reported cases recorded.
The number of reported cases per month as shown in the graph above shows that there was a decrease in the month of May after the initial breakout of the virus in March. In August the number of cases increased and a sudden spike in numbers was also recorded in the month of September.
The survival ratio reveals the difference between the confirmed cases and deaths. It shows the chances of survival from the virus (Coronavirus) within the country’s data set. This excludes underlying health conditions. In March, at least 1 death was recorded for every 21 cases. The survival rate increased to 1:17, 1:16, 1:18, 1:20 and later decreased to 1:25 and 1:35 in August and September respectively.
The two minutes video on the fact sheet can be accessed atwww.huridac.org/Burkina-faso.html
The number of deaths recorded at the beginning of the pandemic in the country was relatively high, up until May. A decrease in the daily number of reported death was seen in May up until September
A Citizen, civil societies and strategic stakeholder’s forum should be launched to hold the government accountable, ensure transparency and fulfillment of all governmental mandate.
Proper and adequate sensitization programs should be planned and implemented in every locality within the country. The life and safety of women and children should be prioritized as most women face challenges across the country.
Women affairs should develop programs and workshops to teach sustainability and self-reliance by making the acquire skills in farm produce (since it’s the major source of income in the country), this will help them generate income for the well-being of their families.
The government should give opportunity for citizen’s and stakeholders participation in the deployment of management strategies.
A deepened collaboration of the government and other international and non-governmental organization is needed to assist the government with programs and measures to help curb the spread. Programs to help re- integrate the citizens into their normal lives should be prioritized.
- Local and rural form of information sharing should be adopted, as the placement of the curfew and the lockdown has hindered information spread within the communities.
- The government should set up an emergency organization to focus on prevention and control of the virus (Coronavirus) and also other public health issues.
- An emergency organization on security and human right matters should also be set up. This should include stakeholders and international donors.
- The government should partner will relief and humanitarian response organizations to help urgently provide adequate supply of essential protective equipment to all healthworkers and citizens who needs them.
- Public service should be strengthened to help citizens especially those in the internally displaced camps.
The Human Rights Advancement and Development Centre (HURIDAC) is an Af rican-based regional Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), registered in Nigeria. Its mandates are to: (1) To promote, protect and ensure respect for human rights, democracy and development; (2) To build the capacity and knowledge base of
civil society, government institutions, oversight bodies and other agencies and communities on human rights, development, democracy and conflict prevention; and (3) To use the process of the rule of law to hold governments and their agents accountable.
The regional office of HURIDAC is located in Lagos (Nigeria) while its Nigeria and Gambia offices are located in Abuja (Nigeria) and Banjul Respectively.
Note: This fact sheet can be downloaded at :http://huridac.org/Burkina-faso.html