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African Countries Respond Quickly To Spread Of COVID-19 (NPR)

March 21, 2020

From the article:

"Gyude Moore, who served as part of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's administration during the Ebola outbreak, says African nations are already innovating to fight COVID-19.

Moore, who's now a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, says countries saw the devastation of the Ebola crisis and are taking steps to get ready for this virus.

‘For example, Nigeria, they've applied the lessons from Ebola and they are doing their best to separate the response to the [coronavirus] pandemic from the provision of regular health care,’ he says.

‘The people [in Nigeria] presenting symptoms of the disease are ushered into a specialized clinic, specialized areas separate from the regular health system,’ Moore says. ‘It allows the health system to continue to function and not be overwhelmed quickly. What we saw in West Africa [during Ebola] was how very fast and how easily the health system was overwhelmed as the case load increased.’

To prevent that during this pandemic, countries across the continent are trying to get ready for COVID-19. Uganda hasn't yet confirmed a single case but it's already banned weddings and large religious gatherings. Kenya, Moore notes, has shut down schools.

But most African nations can't order nationwide or citywide lockdowns as Italy and China have. Moore says it's just not possible. ‘In an informal economy,’ he says. ‘People literally have to go out every day as a means of being able to feed themselves…’”

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Photo of W. Gyude Moore
Senior Policy Fellow