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When COVID-19 started going global in the early months of 2020, developed countries struggled to keep the virus at bay, and many began to worry about the ability of African countries to withstand the pandemic. Experts from around the world issued dire predictions, warning that the region’s weak health systems would be decimated. Yet as we look back on the first nine months of the pandemic, it is clear that African countries have not only survived, but also offered lessons about how to manage similar crises in the future.

Here in Rwanda, our health system had to be completely rebuilt after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, when 1 million people were murdered. Just 26 years later, the country is widely seen as a world leader in responding to the pandemic. In mid-October, when the COVID-19 death toll in the United States had passed 220,000, Rwanda’s stood at just 33, out of a population of 12.3 million.

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