Thursday, April 25, 2024

Botswana’s Covid-19 institutional capacity among the best in Africa

When it comes to pandemic or epidemic response, different types of infrastructure play diverse roles in any given country especially with regards to the movement of personnel and supplies.

A report entitled: “Covid-19 in Africa: A call for coordinated governance, improved health structures and better data,” which is a data and analysis from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation says Botswana’s infrastructure indicators are among the top 5 in Africa.

With a score of 67.2 on the infrastructure indicators, Botswana is ranked 5th best country in Africa. Seychelles tops the list with a score of 87.2, followed by Mauritius with a score of 83.0, Morocco 70.4, Egypt with 69.3 then Botswana in 5th with 67.2.

“The speed with which countries can detect, report and respond to outbreaks can be a reflection of their wider institutional capacity. Epidemics are a reality test for public governance and leadership, not only at country level, but also at regional and continental levels, as well as in connection with the wider network of multilateral actors and partners,” states part of the report.

The report also says that while IT infrastructure is predominantly vital for health campaigns, 66% of Africans are still offline despite the fact that most of urban Africa is connected. “Poor infrastructure can prevent personnel from reaching affected areas at the required speed, while communications infrastructure is similarly important as it allows for reporting and diagnosis. The data show that any action to strengthen services in these areas would be beneficial,” the report states.

While the report states that the African continent is underperforming in critical areas such as reliability of electricity supply, transport infrastructure, and digital & IT infrastructure, the African average score “for the Infrastructure sub-category is 44.5 and is the second most improved sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).

The state of public health systems or the compliance and adherence with public health legislation and frameworks are essential for emergency preparedness. However, there is a wider range of indirect factors, from institutional to infrastructural to political, that can affect and curb a country’s capability to respond to infectious disease epidemics.

The report further encourages the African continent to hastily improve fragile health structures and related institutional capacity, such as education, infrastructure or national security. “Covid-19 highlights the urgent need to strengthen data and statistical capacity, notably in relation to health and civil registration.”

The report also encourages countries to be conscious of the fact that the movement of personnel and supplies depends on the transport infrastructure and a strong communications infrastructure is essential to support outbreak and diagnostic reporting.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper