Applying lessons learnt from Ebola for effective COVID-19 response in Africa

Published In: African Journal of Clinical and Experimental Microbiology
Article Link:
Author(s): Aiyenuro, A. E., Onyeani, C. O. and Uche, N. C.

Applying lessons learnt from Ebola for effective COVID-19 response in Africa
Photo Illustration: Applying lessons learnt from Ebola for effective COVID-19 response in Africa
Photo Credit: African Arguments

This classic commentary was written by Aiyenuro, A. E. the Team Lead and Research Analyst, Research4Knowledge, Lagos; Onyeani, C. O. of the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Uche, N. C., a Quality Assurance Officer, Loving Gaze IO, SHOPS Plus Tuberculosis USAID Project. Title: “Applying lessons learnt from Ebola for effective COVID-19 response in Africa”. And excerpt of the commentary reads:

The Ebola virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission via direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids. In December 2019, a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China, attracting the notice of regional authorities and rapidly drawing global attention. In less than 4 months, COVID-19 spread through almost all countries and regions. The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the world economy, in addition to creating the current global public health crisis.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 28,616 cases of Ebola were detected, and 11,310 people died during the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As of 17th December 2020, COVID-19 has killed 1,658,062 people, and positive cases have topped 74 million globally. Africa has suffered several outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD); learning from the past is a good way to prepare for the future. We hope to highlight some of the lessons learnt from Africa’s response to previous epidemics that can help in the fight against the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

By joining together and engaging communities, COVID-19 can be contained just like the EVD. It is important to note that the world will only be safe when we are all safe. The COVID-19 pandemic has exploited any and all cracks in humanity. In the war against COVID-19, health system resilience, accountability and integrity are more important than ever. The health systems of some high-income-countries have become overwhelmed by the rising number of infected cases and deaths from the disease. The weaker, corruption-prone and less resilient health systems of many LMICs are even more vulnerable, and some may even collapse.

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