Lawrence R. Stanberry,
Lewis Rubin Thompson,
Columbia University, Institute for Social and Economic Policy and Research (ISERP)
Released as part of the Futures Forum for Preparedness
Public health and policy research teams at Columbia University and the Brenthurst Foundation examined the actions taken in response to COVID-19 in five major economic and cultural hubs in Africa.
Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa
Multilateral Coordination: Many African countries benefited early in the pandemic from swift action by central governments to reduce the spread of COVID-19, enabled in part by recent multilateral coordination and capacity-building efforts to stem the flow of Ebola and other diseases. Institutions such as the Africa CDC provide a model for more effective multilateral cooperation in crisis via a continent-wide health governance structure. Looking ahead, the Africa CDC may consider setting up regional branches in order to serve the member states of different parts of the continent.
Leadership: These five countries illustrate how rapid action to recognize and respond to the crisis at the top of government can help reduce early levels of transmission of a disease and enable health systems to catch up to the threat.
Trust: Public trust, particularly in vaccines, remains a problem, but some innovative approaches on display in the studied countries may have potential to further scale.
Testing: Limited testing and medical capacity remains a major issue for these five countries, making it difficult to construct a complete understanding of the spread of COVID-19, and forcing large-scale, economically-restrictive measures rather than more targeted interventions.
Economic Impact: The economic impact of those economically-restrictive measures has been largely unsustainable, forcing a more nuanced approach.