Date of Graduation

Summer 8-7-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


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First Advisor

Kelly McDermott, PHD


COVID-19 pandemic threatens public health systems across the globe. The ravaging COVID-19 virus does not spare public health systems of large economies such as the US. There are global shortages of PPE, laboratory, and critical care capacity is overwhelmed by the pandemic. Well-resourced public health care infrastructure is essential in reducing mortality, and disease burden in an epidemic, promoting global health security and safeguarding the progress made in other health programs such as HIV/AIDS and TB.

When public health care systems in high-income countries are struggling to manage COVID-19, the situation is worse for under-funded public health systems in SSA. Endemic disease burden and brain drain are straining the deprioritized public health care systems. The 2014-2016 Ebola virus tested Africa's healthcare infrastructure's preparedness. There was no physical infrastructure, and public health systems were ill-equipped before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Three years later, public healthcare infrastructural gaps still exist in SSA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Laboratory and critical care capacity, readily available medical supplies, and healthcare personnel are crucial in fighting a highly transmissible viral disease such as COVID-19. SSA still suffers from inadequate public health infrastructure, which slows down efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Reliable and sustainable funding towards health enables long term planning, thereby allowing healthcare systems to improve and deliver better and timely responses to public health threats. Creating domestic capacity for medical supplies offers readily available supplies while setting up pandemic funds provides immediate financial support during a pandemic.

Keywords: Health system, healthcare infrastructure, public health infrastructure, global health security, emerging infections, endemic diseases, public health threats, sustainable funding.