The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: An urgent need to relook at the training of the African health workforce

To the Editor: As of 11 March 2020, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic had infected over 120 000 people in more than 90 countries, of whom 4 369 had died.[1] As recent modelling analysis highlights, the evolving impact of SARS-CoV-2 will be as a large outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that may rapidly overwhelm existing health services.[2] To avoid the worst of outcomes, African health systems must act quickly and decisively. Investing in health professions education will be essential to both containing and managing the pandemic and any other new infections in the future. Here we describe how a transnational HIV training project, implemented by the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth)[3] and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), offers a template for how we can deploy African-bred approaches to address this emerging threat.


Title: “COVID-19 Outbreak in Africa: What You Need to Know and How to Keep Safe"

Thursday, March 19th
9:00-10:00 am US Eastern Time,
1:00-2:00 pm Dakar/Accra; 3:00-4:00 pm Johannesburg; 4:00-5:00 pm Kampala/Nairobi


Jean B. Nachega, MD, PhD, MPH (Professor, AFREhealth/Stellenbosch Univ)
Quentin Eichbaum, MD, PhD, MPH (Professor, CUGH/Vanderbilt Univ)


WHO Declares Coronavirus Disease a Pandemic as Increasing Case Numbers

COVID-19 Epidemiologic Status in AfricaThe outbreak of thecoronavirus disease(COVID-19)started with the report of a first suspected case on December 8, 2019 in Wuhan, China.The virus has been named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).On 11 March 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaredCOVID-19a pandemic.


The Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) ECHO online free access training on COVID-19 with minimal resources by Professor Shaheen Mehtar

(10 March 2020, but updated monthly)


COVID-19: An Urgent Call for Coordinated, Trusted Sources to Tell Everyone What They Need to Know and Do

Since 1995, the global community has experienced six outbreaks that the World Health Organization (WHO), as authorized in a 2005 revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR), designated as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC): H1N1 Influenza, polio, Ebola in West Africa and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zika, and now a novel coronavirus, which WHO officially termed SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for the disease state termed COVID-19. Two other novel coronaviruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also spread internationally. SARS occurred before the major IHR revision in 2005 and thus was not designated a PHEIC. MERS arose on the Saudi peninsula after the IHR revision, but WHO never officially designated it a PHEIC, even though it spread internationally, including a major outbreak in South Korea. READ MORE...

Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic?

In any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again. The Covid-19 pandemic is a case in point. We need to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general. The first point is more pressing, but the second has cru-cial long-term consequences. READ MORE...

Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus in China

Since December 2019, when coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China, data have been needed on the clinical characteristics of the affected patients.

We extracted data regarding 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 from 552 hospitals in 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in China through January 29, 2020. The primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the use of mechanical ventilation, or death. READ MORE ...

Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted

The latest threat to global health is the ongoing outbreak of the respiratory disease that was re-cently given the name Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). Covid-19 was recognized in Decem-ber 2019. It was rapidly shown to be caused by a novel coronavirus that is structurally related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syn-drome (SARS). READ MORE...

About us

The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) is an interdisciplinary health professional grouping that seeks to work with Ministries of Health, training institutions and other stakeholders to improve the quality of health care in Africa through research, education and capacity building.

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