Investigating the Possible Reasons for the Low Reported Morbidity and Mortality of COVID-19 in African Countries: An Integrative Review.
Manna OK., Costa Clemens SA., Clemens R.
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has impacted the world differentially with the highest mortality and morbidity rate burden in Europe and the USA and the lowest mortality and morbidity burden in Africa. This study aims to investigate the possible reasons why Africa recorded the lowest COVID-19 mortality and morbidity. METHODS: The following search terms were used PubMed database: ["mortalit*" (tw) OR "morbidit*" (tw) AND "COVID-19" (tw) AND "Africa" (tw)]. Studies that discuss a factor for the low COVID-19 burden in Africa have a defined methodology, discuss its research question and mention its limitations are selected for review. Data from the final articles were extracted using a data collection tool. RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were used in this integrative review. Results were grouped into 10 themes, which are younger African population, lower health capacity, weather, vaccines and drugs, effective pandemic response, lower population density and mobility, African socioeconomic status, lower prevalence of comorbidities, genetic difference and previous infection exposure. The low COVID-19 mortality and morbidity in Africa is largely a result of a combined effect of the younger African population and underreporting of COVID-19 cases. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to strengthen the health capacities of African countries. Moreover, African countries that have other health problem priorities may use a tailored approach to vaccinating the elderly. More definitive studies are needed to know the role of BCG vaccination, weather, genetic makeup and prior infection exposure in the differential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.