Lessons from the Ebola epidemics and their applications for COVID‐19 pandemic response in sub‐Saharan Africa

Developing World Bioethics 21 (1):25-30 (2021)
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Abstract

COVID‐19, caused by a novel coronavirus named SARS‐CoV‐2, was identified in December 2019, in Wuhan, China. It was first confirmed in sub‐Saharan Africa in Nigeria on 27 February 2020 and has since spread quickly to all sub‐Saharan African countries, causing more than 111,309 confirmed cases and 2,498 deaths as of 03 June 2020. The lessons learned during the recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks in some sub‐Saharan African countries were expected to shape and influence the region’s responses to COVID‐19 pandemic. However, some of the challenges associated with the management of the EVD outbreaks persist and create obstacles for the effective management of the COVID‐19 pandemic. This article describes the commonalities between the EVD epidemics and COVID‐19 pandemic, with a view to draw on lessons learned to effectively tackle the ongoing pandemic. Key successes, failures and lessons learned from previous EVD outbreaks are discussed. Recommendations on how these lessons can be translated to strengthen the COVID‐19 response in sub‐Saharan Africa are provided.

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