Embracing One Health offers practical strategies in management of COVID-19 for Africa

The coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak has now affected over 60% of African countries in less than two months , gaining a foothold through major economic and transport hubs on the African continent including Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Travel restrictions imposed against citizens from countries with major outbreaks including China, USA and those in Europe were too late . African Union member states as of early April 2020 are reporting 6,470 cases and 241 deaths from COVID-19 reporting growth as “close to exponential”. Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges the virus is an existential threat to African countries and that with local transmission now underway many would pass the 10,000-infection mark by the end of April. While the impact of wearing of face masks for control of COVID-19 remains controversial, it is inarguable that respiratory transmission needs to be prevented. Currently, there is a global shortage of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) and distribution is being rationed in developed countries to retain this for workers in the health system, showing that developing countries in Africa are bound to suffer more should the pandemic be mismanaged at these early stages. In addition, health systems in developing countries, already crippled from years of underinvestment will be compromised unless practical and realistic prevention strategies are put in place. China, Italy, France, UK and USA, all with sophisticated health systems, have found COVID-19 challenging. Infection is increasing across the African subcontinent and health systems will struggle as the pandemic sweeps into and across Africa.
Coronaviruses, COVID-19, Africa, pandemic, one health
Kasozi, K. I., Mujinya, R., Bogere, P., Ekou, J., Zirintunda, G., Ahimbisibwe, S., ... & Welburn, S. C. (2020). Pandemic panic and anxiety in developing countries. Embracing One Health offers practical strategies in management of COVID-19 for Africa. The Pan African Medical Journal, 35(Suppl 2). DOI: 10.11604/pamj.2020.35.3.22637