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Dealing with Covid-19 in rural Africa: lessons from previous crises

This note summarises insights from a study commissioned by FCDO, which examines the lessons that can be drawn from previous crises to inform responses to Covid-19 in rural Africa.

Publisher Overseas Development Institute

This briefing note summarises insights from a study commissioned by FCDO (at the time, under DFID), which examines the lessons that can be drawn from previous crises to inform responses to Covid-19 in rural Africa.

Most of the evidence comes from a review of seven viral health crises: HIV/AIDS; H5N1 (avian influenza); Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); H1N1 (swine flu); Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Covid-19 in China. Two economic shocks were also considered: the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2007/2008 food price spike.

It addresses two main questions: 

  • What might the consequences be of disease, and responses to it, on agriculture, rural livelihoods, food systems and food security?

  • What lessons on dealing with those consequences can be drawn from previous crises?

This publication was part funded by the SPARC programme, and is part of ODI’s series on coronavirus.

Health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo wear protective equipment before treating people suspected of having Ebola.
Health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo wear personal protective equipment before treating people suspected of having Ebola.
Credit Photo by World Bank / Vincent Tremeau - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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