By Basil K Mbuye
The proposal to test the Coronavirus, COVID 19, vaccine in Africa by French doctors has caused outrage in Africa, France and beyond with African football legends, like many other critics, taking to social media to condemn what many termed a demeaning and racist-toned suggestion.
In a TV programme, two French doctors recently suggested that test trials on a COVID-19 vaccine should be first carried out in Africa. In the programme, Dr Jean Paul Mira Head of Resuscitation Services at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, proposed that the vaccine can be tested in Africa just like they did with the AIDS studies.
Hear him: “This may be controversial, but shouldn’t we do a study in Africa where they do not have masks, treatments or resuscitation? A little as it is done in AIDS studies where they use prostitutes to test some things because they know that they are highly exposed and do not protect themselves. What do you think?”
Responding to Dr Mira, Dr. Camille Locht, director of research at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, corroborated his colleague’s proposal.
“You are right. We are thinking of a parallel study in Africa to use this same kind of approach with BCG Placebos. I think there is a request for a proposal. I don’t know if it is out yet or not, and we will think seriously about that too.”
Bittered by the proposal, some African football legends immediately took to social media expressing their bitterness at the controversial proposal of the French doctors.
Senegalese forward Demba Ba was first to react on to Twitter to express his anger after the posting the video of the said programme on his Twitter page.
“Welcome to the West, where white people believe themselves to be so superior that racism and stupidity have become commonplace. TIME TO RISE.”
Reacting under Demba Ba’s tweet was former Indomitable Lions skipper Samuel Eto’o Fils. The four-time African Player of the Year reacted by calling the doctors “You sons of bitches”. However, he was criticised by some users for outrightly insulting the two doctors.
On his part, former Ivory Coast skipper Didier Drogba warned the French Doctors. He also went further to call on African leaders to protect their people and not accept such proposals from the western world. To him, the words of the doctors and their proposal are racist words which should not be welcomed.
Hear him: “It is inconceivable we keep on cautioning this. Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racist words. Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
“Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging populations’ health worldwide. It’s disgusting.”
He also urged Africa leaders to “take responsibility to protect their populations from those horrendous conspiracies.”
What irked so many critics and Africans is the fact that the virus has caused more harm in Europe than in Africa where the doctors proposed that a vaccine should be tested.