Experience combating Ebola has been a key element in the effective response of African nations to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science in collaboration with the African Research Network.
Published today in Nature Medicine, the study explains that there had been fears that Africa would be the next ‘hotspot’ for COVID-19: ‘Many predicted a heavy toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa. Its weakened health systems were harbingers of a terrible outcome.’
But the reality has been quite different, with Africa only moderately affected thus far by the pandemic. According to the research, expertise developed during previous epidemics, coupled with favourable younger demographics, climate, early and effective lockdown measures, and centralised public health infrastructure all played their part in helping African nations face the pandemic in relative good standing until now.
Author Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre, says ‘One reason that African nations have fared better than other areas of the world, such as US or the UK, is their rapid, early and even drastic measures. As early as 23 April, many African countries had already taken serious measures. We have much to learn from the way in which the countries that fought off Ebola, have handled the current crisis.’
Read the full story on ox.ac.uk