Academy says country’s pandemic response could threaten progress on other diseases
South Africa’s National Coronavirus Command Council must seek the advice of researchers and scientists so the Covid-19 response does not impede progress on other diseases affecting the country, the national academy has warned.
The Academy of Science of South Africa statement urges the country’s leaders not to lose sight of its quadruple disease burden—HIV, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases, as well as violence and injury—because of “shifting priorities” towards Covid-19.
South Africa could “experience increased mortality and morbidity from diseases that have been side-lined in favour of Covid-19,” the ASSAf statement warns. It urges the NCCC to engage with an array of researchers when drawing up Covid-19 policies to advise on how the pandemic response is affecting the other four highlighted disease areas. Social and behavioural scientists should also be part of the mix, ASSAf adds.
In addition, the academy wants the national health department to establish a research programme focused on the complexities of South Africa’s health problems and public health innovation.