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Future pandemics: Is Africa ready?

By Chinezerem Agbakuru
27 October 2022   |   2:46 am
These pandemics such as The Black Death, Spanish flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Ebola, the recent Covid-19

WIKIPEDIA defines a pandemic as “an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region.” From the inception of humanity several pandemics have been reported

These pandemics such as The Black Death, Spanish flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Ebola, the recent Covid-19 have had severe impact on humanity, decimating lives and causing untold hardship.

After the Ebola pandemic, Africa possibly thought she had seen the worst of pandemics but then COVID-19 struck setting the entire globe on edge.

Truly, Africa may not have witnessed as many deaths as the western world but truth is: the entire globe was affected in different forms.

COVID-19 came with high rate of infections in many nations and people died in their numbers.

According to statistics from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has already decimated over two million lives.

Supplies of food and other basic necessities became limited. People were compulsorily made to stay home and recreational activities became limited.

The disease flagrantly displayed ability to reduce production, raise unemployment rates, reduce family income and consumption and halted economies.

Obviously many governments, economies, businesses did not see it coming and consequently were not prepared for it. Thankfully today, we are almost out of the woods in this regard.

It is apparent that the Covid-19 experience has thrown up the need for the world and indeed Africa to get ready for future occurrences.

It has taught us that different sectors of tour economies need to be fortified and that we need to embrace technology.

With climate change and its devastating consequences, flooding in different places and its effects, poor sanitation and the like in many African nations the big question is: how prepared is Africa in the face of a possible pandemic?

This is one of the questions the 2022 Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) will seek to find answers to as it brings together African leaders, researchers, policymakers and stakeholders to share perspectives and research findings in public health to usher in a new era of strengthened scientific collaboration and innovation across the continent.

The theme of the conference is Prepared for Future Pandemic and Post Pandemic Recovery: Africa at A Crossroads. It is believed that the outcome of this conference holding December 13th – 16th in Kigali, Rwanda will “help strengthen institutions’ capacities, capabilities and partnerships to prevent, detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats based on science, evidence based policy, and data driven intervention and programmes,” which is the mission of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).