Africa Health Politics Videos

Covid in Africa – A Revealing Interview with Marsali Campbell in Uganda 

Covid in Africa – A Revealing Interview with Marsali Campbell in Uganda

There is a classic scene in The West Wing season 4 where a speech writer, Will Bailey, tells is asked by President Bartlett “why is a Kundalese (a fictional African country) life worth more than an American life to me?”.  Bailey boldly replies, “I don’t sir, but it is”.  That scene came to mind yesterday when I had this conversation with Marsali Campbell in Uganda.  The Western Media (and celebrities, business people, politicians) will be obsessing today with the result of the US Presidential election.  It is important – but this week also people are being killed in Nigeria for being Christians, and millions of children are in poverty.  I wanted to know the effect of Covid – and the way we are dealing with it – upon the poorest.  So I turned to someone who lives and works in Uganda with the poorest.  What Marsali has to say is I believe, more important than anything else you will hear in the endless commentary about the US election.  Watch and weep.

Marsali works in Uganda with Dwelling Places and has a Masters in global health so she is the perfect person to talk about Covid in Africa.  I found it to be a really revealing conversation – challenging and moving.   I apologise for the quality of my camera work – and I hate seeing myself on camera (I have a great face for radio!) but I share this with you, raw and unedited – including an appearance of Annabel – because I think what Marsali has to share is so important.


There are many things that stand out in this interview – but the one overall is that Covid has not only shown the level of injustice and inequality that is in the world (inequality here in the real sense of the word – not the one used by our ‘progressives’), but has also made it worse.   Lockdown in Uganda has been devastating for the poor.

Some of the statistics that Marsali shared are astounding.  There are 12,000 cases of Covid in Uganda – 114 deaths. Last year there were 16 million cases of malaria – 10,500 deaths – although according to Marsali its many times that.   In addition to this Uganda has had to face cholera, tuberculosis, famine, locusts…One of the effects of lockdown has been a dramatic increase in domestic and sexual abuse.  In one district alone there are 10,000 extra pregnancies of teenage girls who have not been going to school.

I hope that we will never forget what the Lord’s priorities are.   Like this from Isaiah 58.

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

Open Letter to President Mahama of Ghana


  1. Having been born in Africa and living there most of my life, my heart breaks when I continue to hear of these kinds of stories. The complexities and challenges were overwhelming and perplexing then, as they are now. May the Lord have mercy! Praise Him for people like Marsali, along with my own dear friends and family, who faithfully seek to serve Him in these beleaguered countries.

  2. Hi David

    The story of Covid in Africa is quite complex. On the whole (in other nations), the continent has handled it better than some Western nations (who for various reasons, predicted a blood bath). The article below is an eye opening one:

  3. Thank you, David. Very moving. Marsali, may you be really blessed and encouraged and continue to radiate God’s love.

  4. Thank you David, For this interview with Marsali . Thank you Marsali for giving a first hand account of the poor in Uganda. Why would anyone worry about Covid if you have no water to drink or a dozen other diseases that will inflict . This has been very helpful for prayer, and a wake up to the reality of our own uncounted blessings in the UK.


  5. This lady is an example of the “Great White Mother Syndrome” , an alien cultural imposition which reached its apotheosis in India with Mother Teresa and is still in fashion in Africa.

    1. What an ugly, sneering and to be honest misogynistic comment! “This lady’ is called Marsali – she has given her life to helping the poorest of the poor in Africa – not because of the ‘Great White Mother Syndrome’ but because she loves people and because of her faith in Christ. Your comment is typical of the white sneering self-righteous Western middle class. Once you tell us what you actually do for the poor – you can make your analyses – but right now it just looks at what it is – a wicked comment from a self-righteous cynic.

  6. I am a sceptic , not a cynic. Africa’s fecundity ( thank you Western , evidence – base medicine ) and fecklessness ( e.g.,Nigerian oil wealth wasted ) will result in Europe being the continued destination of unwanted illegal immigrants in exponential numbers.

    They will not improve Europe . Just ask Melbournians about African migrant crime.

    Meanwhile China will continue to view Africa simply as a natural resources haven while taking a realistic and rational view of the continent’s limited human potentialities.

    Re the poor : poverty is perfectly natural , it is wealth and its accretion that require explication .

  7. Marsali, thank you for what you are doing in Uganda and the neighbouring countries. Thank you for sharing so clearly and honestly how things are — the difficulties and frustrations that you are faced with each day. I pray that God will give you and your team the strength you need to keep going and even some encouragement like a ‘thanks’ or smile from a smaller person that you (all) have helped in Jesus’ name.

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