Insufficiency of Pathogen Focused Approaches Towards Managing Deadly Epidemics in Africa: Harmonising the Roles of Governments, Health Systems and Populations

  • Samuel J. Ujewe
  • Alice Mungwa


This chapter points to the insufficiency of the pathogen focused approach in managing deadly infectious disease epidemics in Sub-Saharan Africa. It proposes incorporating African socio-cultural values and approaches in relevant response strategies. This implies that beyond the pursuit of new drugs and vaccines, governments’ responses must also proactively engage their local contexts of healthcare.

The emergence and re-emergence of deadly pathogens have in recent years become synonymous with the name, Africa. While challenges of HIV/AIDS linger, epidemics like Ebola, Yellow Fever and Cholera find fertile grounds to re-emerge. African governments’ responses have improved greatly over the years; yet, they remain severely inadequate towards addressing the problems. The inadequacy means that health systems across the Sub-Saharan Africa region are not able to cope well, especially in the face of epidemics. Findings show, for instance, that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was not simply a factor of an unstoppable virus; it was also blamed on weak health system structures in the affected countries.

A less than optimal response from governments and inadequate coping mechanisms of health systems put the wellbeing of African populations in jeopardy. A viable response will not only involve strengthening health systems and the relevant coping mechanisms, but also influencing populations’ social experiences and cultural values in the face of epidemics.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel J. Ujewe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alice Mungwa
    • 3
  1. 1.Canadian Institute for Genomics and SocietyTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment ConsortiumLagosNigeria
  3. 3.Cameroon Bioethics Initiative (CAMBIN)YaoundeCameroon

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