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Home  >  Medical Research Archives  >  Issue 149  > Africa: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Pandemic
Published in the Medical Research Archives
Jan 2023 Issue

Africa: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Pandemic

Published on Jan 31, 2023




This article is following on the previous paper published in the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic on “Africa: the most vulnerable continent to COVID-19 Pandemic.” The article highlights lessons Africa has learned in the fight against the pandemic in African context, hoping to understand challenges facing Africa and gathering best practices in handling future pandemics. Comprehensive research on relevant studies published between January 2020 and October 2022, on how Africa handled the pandemic, was used as method of the research. The findings illustrated that the pandemic presented a serious threat to human life and devastating to socio-economic life. African governments responded promptly and managed to disregard all the forecast worst-case scenarios predictions, but the approach used failed to take into consideration the community involvement seen as key priority in addressing the pandemic. Involvement of the community and community health workers are critical in fighting future pandemics. The lockdown measures ordered by African governments failed taking into consideration the preservation of livelihood resulting into economic hardship, rising levels of inequality and poverty especially the vulnerable population. The human rights and protection of civilians were under severe strain, restricting fundamental rights and freedom, perpetuating violence and Gender-Based-Violence. The adherence to COVID-19 health guidelines faced serious challenges due to household overcrowding in Sub-Sahara African settings leading to household transmission, physical and mental problems, worsening non-communicable diseases. Low level perceived severity and susceptibility of Coronavirus by majority of Africans has resulted to population engaging in unhealthy behaviors that could predispose them to future pandemics and increase vulnerability. The pandemic has disrupted education and impacted on psychosocial wellbeing of school children. Less governments enforcement of the pandemic measures instituted, circulation of fake news and unscientific misinformation and African cultural aspect of communal pattern of living have contributed to defying adherence to the Pandemic’s measures and viewing social distance as anti-cultural aspect. The emergence of Coronavirus has exposed deteriorating health structure and weak health system in Africa, with weak testing capacity, inadequate admission facilities, weak laboratory system and lack of medical equipment. Lack of political will identified as one of the major reasons for poor health structure in many African countries. In conclusion, it is fundamental that the Coronavirus measures be implemented together with introduction of economic safety as social protection system. Prioritizing Gender Based Violence and setting local network and community led organization to provide Gender based violence survival-centered service support and care remain indispensable. Critical for Sub-Sahara Africa to perceive the severity and susceptibility of engaging in risky behavior and promote engagement in health-related behavior to avoid the impact of future pandemics.

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Marshal Limong

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