The neglected role of faith-based organizations in prevention and control of COVID-19 in Africa

Phesheya Ndumiso Vilakati, Simone Villa, Riccardo Alagna, Bongani Khumalo, Sarah Tshuma, Virginia Quaresima, Nicole Rose Nieman, Daniela Maria Cirillo, Mario Carlo Raviglione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed health system weaknesses of economically wealthy countries with advanced technologies. COVID-19 is nowmoving fast across Africa where small outbreaks have been reported so far. There is a concern that with the winter transmission will grow rapidly. Despite efforts of African Governments to promptly establish mitigating measures, rural areas, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, risk being neglected. In those settings, faith-based and other non-governmental organizations, if properly equipped and supported, can play a crucial role in slowing the spread of COVID-19. We describe our experience in two rural health facilities in eSwatini and Ethiopia highlighting the struggle towards preparedness and the urgency of international support to help prevent a major public health disaster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-786
Number of pages3
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Africa
  • COVID-19
  • FBOs
  • NGOs
  • Preparedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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