Preparing healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa for future outbreaks: insights from a multi-country digital self-assessment of COVID-19 preparedness.

Publication date: Feb 28, 2024

Despite previous experience with epidemics, African healthcare systems were inadequately prepared and substantially impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Limited information about the level of COVID-19 preparedness of healthcare facilities in Africa hampers policy decision-making to fight future outbreaks in the region, while maintaining essential healthcare services running. Between May-November 2020, we performed a survey study with SafeCare4Covid – a free digital self-assessment application – to evaluate the COVID-19 preparedness of healthcare facilities in Africa following World Health Organization guidelines. The tool assessed (i) COVID-19-related capabilities with 31 questions; and (ii) availability of essential medical supplies with a 23-supplies checklist. Tailored quality improvement plans were provided after assessments. Information about facilities’ location, type, and ownership was also collected. Four hundred seventy-one facilities in 11 African countries completed the capability assessment; 412 also completed the supplies checklist. The average capability score on a scale of 0-100 (n=471) was 58. 0 (interquartile range 40. 0-76. 0), and the average supplies score (n=412) was 61. 6 (39. 0-83. 0). Both scores were significantly lower in rural (capability score, mean 53. 6 [95%CI:50. 3-57. 0]/supplies score, 59. 1 [55. 5-62. 8]) versus urban facilities (capability score, 65. 2 [61. 7-68. 7]/supplies score, 70. 7 [67. 2-74. 1]) (P

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Concepts Keywords
Africa Africa
Coronavirus COVID-19
Fight Digital tools
Safecare4covid Epidemic preparedness
Quality improvement


Type Source Name
disease IDO country
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO organization
disease IDO quality

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