Scoping Review and Expert Reflections: Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Preparedness and Response in Selected Countries of East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia

*Corresponding author: Ednah Madu*, Elfatih M. Malik, Sharath B. Nagaraja, Renu Tyagi and Gregory Fant

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scoping review



The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, started in the Hubei province of China in December 2019. On January 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. We wondered what countries in Africa and South-East Asia had done to prevent infectious disease, specifically, COVID-19, from impacting the population of specific countries in that region, and what disease control measures were successful. Expert reflections on findings could guide continued successful public health approaches in managing this complex infectious disease pandemic.


Using a scoping review, published papers, or program descriptions for specific geographic regions (i.e., Africa or Southeast Asia) were searched using specified key terms. Three targeted countries classified by World Bank as lower-middle-income in the two WHO selected regions [Africa (Sudan and Nigeria); Southeast Asia (India)] were reviewed with respect to COVID19 preparedness and response. Findings were organized, highlighting key points that seem particularly useful for regional learning. The evidence from each region was summarized in the aggregate to determine some common, noteworthy themes. COVID-19 epidemiologic data for these regions were also reviewed.


Our findings indicate experience from prior infectious disease outbreak seems to have prepared the selected countries in their preparedness for COVID-19 outbreak on various levels. Incidence of COVID-19 increased across the selected countries. WHO recommended basic public health strategies to reduce disease transmission was initiated by the selected countries at different levels. However, feasibility and lockdown practices raise public health concerns and questions across the target regions reviewed.


This scoping review and expert reflections uncovers important preparedness and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the selected WHO regions. Further exploration and possible public health strategic plans may be needed.


COVID-19 Pandemic; Health system; Preparedness and response; Sub-Saharan Africa; Southeast Asia; Developing countries.