Adebisi YA, Ekpenyong A, Ntacyabukura B, Lowe M, Jimoh ND, Abdulkareem TO, Lucero-Prisno DE
Am J Trop Med Hyg - (-) - [2020-12-15; online 2020-12-15]
COVID-19 is a global public health emergency affecting many countries around the world. Although African governments and other stakeholders are making efforts to contain the pandemic, the outbreak continues to impact human rights and exacerbates inequalities and disparities that are already in existence. The concept of inclusive health focuses on good health and well-being for everyone, and this entails health services that are equitable, affordable, and efficacious. Creating equitable access to mainstream health and healthcare services and ensuring inclusive health responses remain a means of addressing health inequities and disparities. In this article, we argue on the need for inclusive responses to public health emergencies in Africa using COVID-19 as a case example. Africa's response to public health emergencies needs to recognize that for every marginalized/vulnerable group, it is important to strategize to address their particular needs in such a way to surmount any barrier to the right to health. For Africa's public health response to be more inclusive, we therefore need to be more strategic and proactive in reaching out to specific groups and to identify and address their needs. Strengthening the healthcare systems of African countries through increased political will, increased funding to health care, collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders, and effective leadership remains essential in ensuring inclusive responses to health emergencies.