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Controlling COVID-19 will carry devastating economic cost for developing countries

Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 1.58.51 PM

Source: The Conversation, 2 June 2020, photo credit: CNN Business

Many African countries quickly closed their borders and imposed lockdown. This meant that, until the beginning of May, no African country had more than 10,000 people affected, with South Africa, Egypt, Morocco or Algeria being the hardest hit.

Weak health systems nevertheless expose these countries to high health risks. According to the World Health Organisation, the US had 170,000 respirators in mid-March. A month later, 41 African countries together had fewer than 2,000, and ten had none.

The same is true for intensive care beds (Southern Sudan had less than 200), lack of health protection equipment, a shortage of testing kits, low number of doctors per capita, no training in intensive care or difficulties in accessing the international markets for personal protective equipment and other health materials. All make these countries particularly vulnerable.
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