Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine

Challenges of healthcare delivery in the context of COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bamidele Johnson Alegbeleye, Rana Kadhim Mohammed

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Introduction: Public health security is concerned with infection prevention and control worldwide. These measures are the concern of all and sundry to ensure prevention of any outbreaks of diseases that has epidemic potential. Africa may be uniquely positioned to have the most severe and under-detected outcomes related to COVID-19 infection. This article seeks to highlight such challenges of healthcare delivery systems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The communique also suggests possible strategies for improvement in such settings.
Method: We identified relevant articles to date using a manual library search, journal publications on the subject, and critically reviewed them.
Results: We identified and exhaustively discussed the main limitations to public health security in sub-Saharan Africa as follows i) Continuing deterioration of the public health infrastructure for disease control, ii) The changing outlooks of contagious diseases, iii) Private sector reforms like the managed care, iv) Relatively weak health care systems, and v) Poor organizational structures.
Conclusion: Most Africans are eager to see the desired transformation in our public health systems. Unfortunately, the political will to invest in public health infrastructure is lacking. Also, the system is characterized by human resources shortage and diverted resources, which significantly impacted the provision for emerging COVID-19 pandemic –related care. Interestingly the monumental breakthroughs in research development for bio-therapeutics and vaccines in African countries appear a mirage even with extensive past study experience with such products from China and the Western world. Finally, notwithstanding these challenges in our public health systems as elaborated, the facts are that enormous capacities exist that can be harnessed in African countries for the COVID-19 preparedness and response.


COVID-19 Preparedness; SARS-CoV-2; Resource-Constrained Settings; HealthCare Systems; Sub-Saharian Africa


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