Editor's Note [Volume 20 No. 3 (2020)]

We are ready with issue 91. Issue 90 was released on March 31, 2020, and at a time we thought was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A little over a month later the situation has become worse. And even though there is a race in many different parts of the world to find a cure, the fact remains that this virus is novel, it is evasive and that experts are still learning more about its aetiology. More so is that stories about it both locally and from around the world are instilling a lot of fear and panic in people. Hopefully, as time passes, we get to learn more of fact than fiction. Watching the media one can see certain characteristics are not unique to any one country where certain people in the population do not want to follow government advisory. Whatever the case, there is no doubt we have a problem to the magnitude few of us alive today ever imagined to see in our lifetime. How many do we have alive that experienced world war 2, or the 1918-20 Spanish flu? But the impact of the Coronavirus is worse because of globalization and connectedness. Having been involved in analysing the food security impacts of the 2008 food crisis, I knew that hunger, arising from disruptions in food supply chains would be the first problem. Also, as I saw measures of lockdown applied in Italy and Spain, I said to myself: God please, keep that virus away from Africa because if that is what it takes to control it, we cannot manage; hunger will kill us before the Corona. BUT, here is the virus in Africa. And indeed, the situation as I have seen in those African countries which have enforced complete lockdown is dire. This in countries without functional social safety nets is a disaster. You cannot lock up people who have nothing to eat. We are seeing defiance, increased crime, and increased domestic violence. The other problem is that the African economies are 80 percent supported by people in the informal sector and these are the same ones whose businesses are being shut down and disrupted. Again, we have seen even in the developed economies, once you lock down completely, reopening becomes a challenge. I have people approaching me for help who ordinarily would not do so. All of a sudden, without warning, far too many people have no income. They do not know how to feed their families. Can you imagine a hungry child? Cuddling them and encouraging them will not fill their stomach. But then everyone is looking for a cure. It is a desperate situation. Big companies and various laboratories are looking for both cure and vaccine. Some are collaborating. But I am sure there are many, including traditional herbalists who are left out of mainstream research and are working quietly to find a cure. In Africa, Senegal has been hailed as having succeeded in treating COVID-19 fairly cost-effectively and their numbers can attest to this. Then we also are hearing of the Madagascar “wonder” concoction which Dr. Jerome Munyangi has been working on to cure malaria. Let us wait and see.

Amongst our profiled reviewers is Dr. Hilda Vasantha, who has served for years as our dedicated reviewer. She shared with us the exciting news of her promotion to the position of Associate Professor at the University of Rwanda.

We have 16 thoroughly reviewed articles, and a Guest Editorial from Prof Susan Whiting from Canada, a great friend of AJFAND, and one who has great African experience and continues to supervise and mentor African graduate students.

Ruth K. Oniang'o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND