By Mohammed M.Mupenda*
An unprecedented global pandemic that knows no borders has brought the challenges in the U.S. African Immigrants Community; these include public health policy, low socioeconomic status and their way of life (belief).
President and Executive Director of Vitendo 4 Africa, Geoffrey Soyiantet has revealed that coronavirus is on the rise among African Immigrants community.
He shared that during a virtual meeting organised by Vitendo 4 Africa with other African community leaders in Missouri, United States of America.
The meeting held on Monday discussed challenges facing Africans during this deadly pandemic and outlined ways of helping out.
Immigrants in urban areas face particular challenges during the Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, which started in China late last year. They are more likely to live in crowded housing and use public transportation. Both factors can make them more susceptible to infection. They also tend to have lower incomes than native-born workers.
“COVID-19 positive cases in the African immigrant community is on the rise. Many have it but may only show mild symptoms. Others are discovering it when it is too late. Through our way of life, many are spreading it through various means that can be prevented,” Geoffrey said.
For instance an African community member recently died from the pandemic and he was earlier advised to go for check up in time, which he turned down hoping to get well soon.
“We can’t wait for many people to die; we should take actions. As leaders we are obliged to provide our communities with some guidance,” Mr. Geoffrey noted.
African international students lost their jobs due to the closure of the universities in the United States and many of them have not made it back home due to international travel restrictions.
“African international students who could be finding it hard to get something to put on table since the universities closed and many have lost their jobs they were doing at campus to earn a living, they could reach out to Africa chamber of commerce,” Mr. Segun Babalola, president of African Chamber of Commerce St. Louis advised.
Note that the international students are allowed to work within the campus and those jobs include working in college and university libraries.
Mr. Sidee Conteh, president of Sierra Leone Community of St. Louis said that the international students could be allowed to apply for the U.S. work permit while Geoffrey said that they could help for job connections, stressing that it will be most challenging since the most resources for business and work are closed.
*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.