Gambling with COVID-19 Makes More Sense: Ethical and Practical Challenges in COVID-19 Responses in Communalistic Resource-Limited Africa

Informed by evidence from past studies and
experiences with epidemics, an intervention combining
quarantine, lockdowns, curfews, social distancing, and
washing of hands has been adopted as “international
best practice” in COVID-19 response. With massive
total lockdowns complemented by electronic surveillance, China successfully controlled the pandemic in country within a few months. But would this work for Africa and other communalistic resource-poor settings where social togetherness translates to effective sharing of basic needs? What ethical and practical challenges would this pose? How would communalism be translated in special contexts to be useful in contributing to the ultimate common good? This paper uses examples from the current situation of COVID-19 in Kenya to address these questions.

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