More Women Should Lead Africa’s Coronavirus Response

BY: Damaris Matoke-Muhia

As the race to contain one of the worst pandemics in history continues, there is an urgent need for more stringent and innovative strategies to battle COVID-19.

But on the world stage, one critically important element remains a low priority. While women perform 70 percent of the world’s healthcare services, they comprise only 25 percent of global health leadership. And while some might say debating gender statistics during a global health crisis is pointless, I believe it is the perfect time to focus on why more women’s leadership is needed – at decision-making tables, in high-level policy conversations, running community-level initiatives and serving in the highest positions of international health organisations.

African countries have many assets and strengths to respond to this pandemic because we have had many “practice drills” in coping with outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, chikungunya, yellow fever, cholera, dengue, malaria. As a result, we have myriad policies, strategies, and educational initiatives for pandemic response.