In comparing outbreaks across countries, I think there is a lot of luck involved in the timing (it’s when, not if). But places that have faced outbreaks in the past have a collective memory and can respond quickly. Highlighting a few examples. 1/7
Sierra Leone repurposed disease-tracking protocols established for Ebola. The government set up emergency operations centers in every district and recruited 14,000 community health workers, including 1,500 contact tracers. 2/7
The Ugandan health authorities are testing around 1,000 truck drivers a day. But many of those who test positive have come from Tanzania and Kenya, countries that are not monitoring as aggressively. 3/7
India is leveraging an existing gigantic integrated disease surveillance network to trace and quarantine infected people. Interestingly, these networks are strongest in the poorest areas. 4/7
South Korea learned a lot of valuable lessons during their 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, particularly strengthening surveillance systems, diagnostic capacity, and hospital infection control. 5/7
In South Africa, the government has deployed 28,000 health workers to test and screen communities across the country, drawing on the health infrastructure that had been built in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 6/7
This is meant to highlight some of the best aspects I see, and is not an endorsement of these countries’ overall strategies. There is still a long way to go, but we should pay close attention to how even places with limited resources respond (= hard work, people power). 7/7
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