Rapid review of COVID-19 guidelines in African countries

28th May 2020

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization within three months of its emergence.  The number of cases and deaths is escalating in African countries.  Palliative care is a core component of Universal Health coverage and is required by WHO resolution as part of member state responses to COVID-19.  However the omission of palliative care from COVID-19 response plans has been highlighted. 

Researchers based at the Cicely Saunders Institute have carried out a rapid review for the World Health Organisation to establish whether the clinical management guidelines for COVID-19 in African countries reflect the African quality palliative care standards.

The researchers looked at guidelines in any languages published between December 2019 and May 2020 in 54 countries and appraised for these for African Palliative Care Association (APCA) standards for providing quality palliative care. 

Researchers state that the focus of palliative care is on managing serious health-related suffering.  This is the only type of care that can be offered to patients with severe COVID-19 disease until vaccines or curative treatments become available.  It is therefore imperative for governments, policy makers and stakeholders in Africa to prioritise the role of palliative care in the management of patients with COVID-19.

Afolabi OA, Abboah-Offei M, Namisango E, Chukwusa E, Oluyase AO, Luyirika EBK, et al.  Do the clinical management guidelines for Covid-19 in African Countries reflect the African quality palliative care standards? A rapid review. [Preprint]. Bull World Health Organ. E- pub: 26 May 2020. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.20.267120