The impact of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on health systems and household resources in Africa and South Asia
Davies, Nicholas G et al.
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Background. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemics strain health systems and households. Health systems in Africa and South Asia may be particularly at risk due to potential high prevalence of risk factors for severe disease, large household sizes and limited healthcare capacity. Methods. We investigated the impact of an unmitigated COVID-19 epidemic on health system resources and costs, and household costs, in Karachi, Delhi, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Johannesburg. We adapted a dynamic model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and disease to capture country-specific demography and contact patterns. The epidemiological model was then integrated into an economic framework that captured city-specific health systems and household resource use. Findings. The cities severely lack intensive care beds, healthcare workers and financial resources to meet demand during an unmitigated COVID-19 epidemic. A highly mitigated COVID-19 epidemic, under optimistic assumptions, may avoid overwhelming hospital bed capacity in some cities, but not critical care capacity. Interpretation. Viable mitigation strategies encompassing a mix of responses need to be established to expand healthcare capacity, reduce peak demand for healthcare resources, minimise progression to critical care and shield those at greatest risk of severe disease.