Date of Award

Fall 11-16-2020

Degree Type

Honors Project


Economics and International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Adam Pellillo

Second Advisor

Dr. Vince Kling


While developed countries in the rest of the world have found themselves overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic, in comparison, Africa has been minimally affected given that it has reported lower case counts since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. However, given the destructive potential of this pandemic, this raises the question: how prepared are health systems in Africa to face major outbreaks? To answer this question, this article explored the state of health systems and epidemic preparedness in African countries using Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as case studies. Given that these three countries were epicentre countries during the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak, an examination of key response contributions from national governments and local communities was performed. Additionally, data from the 2019 Global Health Security Index was analyzed to determine the current state of epidemic preparedness in the three countries. Positive response strategies were detected across the three countries specifically with the implementation of infection prevention control guidelines by governments and the active engagement of community members in response efforts. In contrast, some gaps remain in the detection, health sector and response capabilities of the three countries regarding epidemic preparedness. This assessment suggests that these positive strategies need to continue to occur in African countries in times of major outbreaks and that special collaborations between stakeholders in Africa and international partners need to take place in order to fortify health systems and better prepare the continent for future epidemics or pandemics.