The impact of COVID-19 on patients with neurological disorders and their access to healthcare in Africa: A review of the literature

Brain Behav. 2022 Sep;12(9):e2742. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2742. Epub 2022 Aug 11.


Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has hampered the progress of neurological healthcare services for patients across Africa. Before the pandemic, access to these services was already limited due to elevated treatment costs among uninsured individuals, shortage of medicines, equipment, and qualified personnel, immense distance between residing areas and neurological facilities, and a limited understanding of neurological diseases and their presentation by both the health workers and the African population.

Methodology: The databases PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, and the National Library of Medicine were searched for literature. All articles on neurological disorders in Africa were considered.

Aim: This review article explores the challenges of providing the best services for patients suffering from neurological disorders in Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic and provides evidence-based recommendations.

Results: As Africa's governments made more resources available to support patients affected by COVID-19, neurological care received less priority and the capacity and competency to treat patients with neurological disorders thus suffered substantially. Both short-term and long-term strategies are needed to improve the quality of neurological services after the pandemic in the region.

Conclusion: To strengthen Africa's neurological services capability during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, African governments must ensure appropriate healthcare resource allocation, perform neurology management training, and increase health security measures in medication supply. Long-term strategies include incorporating responsible finance and resource procurement and advancement of tele-neurology. International collaboration is essential to promote the sustainable improvement of neurological services in Africa.

Keywords: Africa; COVID-19; healthcare; neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases* / therapy
  • Pandemics
  • United States