Global health experts are increasingly coming to the same conclusion: the novel coronavirus 2019 will circle the globe. With Sub-Saharan Africa's strong ties to China, the epicenter of the virus, it’s likely just a matter of time until COVID-19 arrives, if it is not already there. The under-resourced and unprepared national health systems of many African countries will have difficulty detecting its presence and are not equipped to respond.
Those of us who have experience in responding to disease outbreaks know that every moment of lead time to prepare is precious, not to be squandered. That is why IMA World Health and our partners intend to do our part to stop COVID-19 from taking hold on the continent, where it could have devastating impacts on the economies, trade, and people of Africa.
Drawing from experience
IMA World Health has significant experience in outbreak response and deep partnerships with faith-based health care networks across Africa. IMA has mobilized a response to the last four Ebola outbreaks on the continent, including the current outbreak in Eastern DRC, where IMA was one of the few international NGOs to remain operational in the epicenter of the outbreak through multiple crises and upheavals thanks to our partnerships with national organizations and faith-based networks.
In these efforts, IMA worked closely with HEAL Africa, Program for the Promotion of Primary Health Care, Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau, and other Christian Health Associations, also known as CHAs, to support infection prevention and control, or IPC, and build long term local capacity within health care systems to ensure that they are prepared for future public health emergencies.