Coronavirus (687) The Lancet: COVID-19 in Africa: no room for complacency

31 May, 2020

Citation and selected extracts below.

CITATION: COVID-19 in Africa: no room for complacency

The Lancet Editorial| volume 395, issue 10238, p1669, may 30, 2020

Published: May 30, 2020 DOI:


Despite over 100 000 confirmed cases and infections in every country, the passage of COVID-19 through the African continent remains somewhat enigmatic. High numbers of deaths were expected in the region due to fragile health systems, lack of access to preventive measures, barriers to testing, and potentially vulnerable populations. But, according to WHO, Africa is the least affected region globally, with 1·5% of the world's reported COVID-19 cases and 0·1% of the world's deaths...

It is too early to fully understand the implications of these differing strategies, but the response of Tanzania has raised near universal concern, with no case numbers released for weeks and the endorsement of unproven herbal remedies by President John Magufuli.

There is no room for complacency. Medical capacity within Africa will be rapidly overwhelmed if containment fails, but vertical efforts concentrated on this outbreak threaten other hard-won gains. As a result of this pandemic, 80 million children under the age of 1 year worldwide may be at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, as routine immunisations have been disrupted in many countries...

The World Bank estimates that up to 60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of the year...


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: