on Tuesday, 07 April 2020.

Dear Colleagues,

In the wake of COVID-19 control effort, here is an insightful contribution by Dr David Okello.

“This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear. Even though the situation has been classified as a pandemic, it is one we can control...” --UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

With the COVID-19 infections now confirmed in African countries, governments have put in place various measures to contain the spread of the outbreak. These measures include screening of suspected cases, contact tracing, public education on hand washing and avoiding touching the face, isolation of confirmed cases, and physical distancing – closure of schools and large public gatherings and complete lockdown of movement of people including curfews. All these measures are normal public health procedures used in disease outbreak control.

As time passes, it has become clear that the ramifications of COVID-19 go well beyond the realms of the health sector. The lockdown of business activities and confining people in their homes is having major social, psychological and economic ramifications. Already, Africa is watching a potential health disaster quickly turn into an economic and social crisis.


on Tuesday, 07 April 2020.

Communities will be in charge of their destiny as the first line of defense against epidemics and take care of their health within Integrated People Centered Primary Health Care that "leaves no one behind".

The challenge and opportunity presented by COVID – 19 should be used to activate and institutionalize this approach so that after the current crisis it becomes the routine component of the public health system that puts priority on health promotion and disease prevention. Indeed the Whole of Society Approach goes beyond outbreak control and can also ensure that mothers attend ante natal clinics, children are immunized, the nearest health facility has required personnel and supplies, the referral system is in place, the correct food crops are grown and stored properly, all children are going to school, the rural road network is maintained, the water sources are safe and law and order is enforced etc.

This Whole of Society Approach can be rolled out immediately and quickly in most countries once the African Heads State and Governments call for them and assign roles in the same way that they have demonstrated unparalleled leadership by taking charge and issuing various directives on COVID -19 control across the continent.

Let us mobilize all people to delay that day when microorganisms will prevail over humans.

What do you all think?