Anger over Tunisia's pandemic failures

Saadia Abidi and her family in Tunisia are grieving.

Her 71-year-old sister recently died of COVID-19.

A sharp increase in cases and years of government neglect to maintain the countries health system

has stoked anger from a struggling public.

"My sister was born in 1951, she was 70 years old and still in good health but she died of COVID-19. A lot of people died."

Tunisia’s public health sector was once a point of national pride.

But misgovernance has undermined it impacting people like Abidi and many in poorer regions.

So far, around 940,000 people have been fully vaccinated among a population of 11.6 million. Tunisia has reported around 18,000 deaths and more than half a million infections.

At one point last month it had the worst infection rate in Africa.

Failures in dealing with spiralling COVID-19 cases in Tunisia brought many Tunisians into the streets

in protest at the government in the weeks leading up to President Kais Saied's decisions to sack Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspend parliament, with support from the army.

That debacle was the final straw for many people in the government's handling of the pandemic

and prompted Saied to announce soon afterwards that the military would take it over.

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