Covid-19 – urgent call for sustainable healthcare reforms in Africa

A municipal worker sprays disinfectant at a school to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Dakar, Senegal. Sylvain Cherkaoui/AP

Inadequacies within the African healthcare sector have been a critical area of concern for a long time, far preceding the global health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed weaknesses in African economies in managing emergency health hazards and exponentially accentuated various healthcare deficiencies — from lack of medical supplies and care facilities, to inequalities in the delivery of quality healthcare services.

Due to poor health sector infrastructure in Africa, the response to the pandemic has been reactive, with countries scrambling to get systems in place to deal with the crisis. And while the extent of the COVID-19 impact was somewhat unforeseen, epidemiologists have been warning governments for years that a viral pandemic such as this was highly likely to occur.

This type of unpreparedness is simply not acceptable — both in terms of a crisis as well as for pre-existing healthcare issues. It is the responsibility of governments to put into place significant reforms that support sustainable healthcare in Africa. These reforms have to take into consideration current urgent needs, as well as address future needs based on changing socio-political factors, technological advancement, medical progress and so forth. Read more…

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