Science in Africa: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Africa “gullibly” followed Europe and other Western regions in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that resulted, says Oyewale Tomori, past president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former vice-chancellor of Redeemer’s University in Ede.


“Whatever disaster was happening in other parts of the world was not that pronounced in the African region. I think we should have recognized that before we planned our response,” he tells Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.


Tomori says the pandemic exposed flaws in Nigeria’s health system, such as why there were initially so few testing laboratories, and why, after boosting the number to 140, between 40 and 50 are now no longer reporting. He also calls for a continent-wide African Center for Disease Coordination, and a more sustainable vaccine-production strategy across the continent.


This is the fourth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa.


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