Africa defied many dire predictions during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic’s first wave. The continent’s success can be credited to a rapid, coordinated response among African leaders, experience with infectious diseases, an aggressive campaign to combat misinformation, and community engagement in the response.
Despite the early success, many challenges lie ahead as the continent faces a second surge that began last fall. Countries will need massive vaccination campaigns and other measures to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with patients. Leaders will also have to curb the unintended health and economic consequences of pandemic control measures.
John Nkengasong, MSc, PhD, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), cautioned during a recent Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) webinar that the continent can’t let down its guard against the pandemic.