Information last updated: 23 April, 2020


Level of containment and until when: Cities in Burkina Faso are under quarantine. No date has been announced to lift this measure.

Summary and overview of the most recent data: Report on situation of the epidemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Burkina Faso CORUS 23 April 2020.

Response set up and capacity

The Presidency oversees the coordination of the response with the help of a scientific committee, while the national coordination of the COVID-19 pandemic is ensured by the National Committee for the Management of Epidemics COVID-19 (CNGE COVID 19), led by the Prime Minister and assisted by the Ministers in charge of crisis management. Its executive body is the National Executive Secretariat for Combating COVID-19.

The Committee is responsible for:

  1. Providing guidelines and strategies to combat this epidemic;
  2. Coordinating the implementation of the action plan at the national level, including public information, feedback, and education of the public;
  3. Coordinating the support of various partners in the fight against the epidemic;
  4. Mobilizing the human, material and financial resources essential to the fight the epidemic;
  5. Preparing and disseminate the final epidemic report; and
  6. Assessing the management of the epidemic.

Operationally, the Center of Operations for Response to Health Emergencies (CORUS), set up in December 2018, provides leadership in the collective preparation, coordination, and management of operations related to health risks and emergencies in Burkina Faso.

The lack of access to care, equipment, and nursing staff constitutes a major challenge and persists in Burkina Faso. According to the Covid-19 epidemic preparation and response plan (revised), there are 6 University hospital centers (CHU), 8 Regional hospital centers (CHR), 108 medical centers (CM) and 1896 health and promotion centers Social (CSPS) and 435 private structures for over 21 million inhabitants. On average, there are 0.064 doctors per 1000 inhabitants and 0.88 Human Resources in Health (doctors + nurses + obstetric staff) per 1000 inhabitants in 2015. To further illustrate the status of health care coverage and access, in 2015 prenatal care coverage reached (only) 83,2% of births and neonatal mortality reached 23.2 per 1000, as an average of 30% of the household budget is spent on health despite a substantial share of the state budget allocated to health (12.6% of the state budget in 2015). 

Furthermore, the lack of coordination and management capacity of the health system translates into weak management capacity at district, regional directorate and commune levels, exacerbated by the lack of integration of the private health sector. Overall, the system is unprepared and under significant capacity strains to manage the health-repercussions of disasters. 

Moreover, strong territorial inequality in access to healthcare is accentuated by the security crisis, which has left around 881,000 people with little or no access to health care (as of April 24, 2020) particularly in areas affected by insecurity in the North and East. At the end of February 2020, 120 health centers closed and 153 were damaged. In addition to this, access to healthcare for displaced populations (around 780,000 in February 2020) is very problematic.

Stakeholder Mapping

Entities / Organizations

• Presidency
• Ministry of Health
• National COVID 19 epidemic management committee (CNGE COVID 19)
• The Center for Health Emergency Response Operations (CORUS)
• The Regional and Provincial Committees for the Management of Epidemics COVID-19 and the Departmental Executive Secretariat for the fight against COVID 19

Additional actors

• Technical and financial partners (PTF), such as the World Bank (around 75% of the financial response so far), WHO, Unicef, GAVI, UNDP, French Embassy
• Private sector actors in terms of financial and material contribution
• Civil society and traditional leaders for support in awareness-raising actions for populations on the ground

Mitigating factors - What is being done?

  • April 27 – Mandatory wearing of mask comes into effect
  • April 20 – Modification of the curfew hours from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
  • April 20 – Partial reopening of the large Ouagadougou market after 3 weeks of closure
  • April 16 – Wearing masks in public is made mandatory (effective April 27)
  • April 2 – Announcement of socio-economic measures of a total of FCFA 394 billion (4.45% of GDP). This is composed of a a health response plan (FCFA 178 billion), the establishment of a support fund for economic activity of companies (FCFA 100 billion),  the acquisition of agricultural and pastoral inputs (FCFA 30 billion), funding for research on infectious diseases and production of drugs (FCFA 15 billion) and a solidarity fund for the benefit of actors in the informal sector (FCFA 5 billion).
  • March 26: All cities affected by Covid-19 go into quarantine and the country declares a state of Health Alert
  • March 20 – The Presidency announces a series  of containment measures, including the establishment of a Scientific Committee around the President to monitor and guide measures to be taken against the pandemic, the establishment of a curfew throughout the territory from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m and measures to restrict agglomerations in public places, including markets, restaurants, bars, cultural places (cinemas, playrooms and shows). This also includes closing Burkina Faso’s borders for two weeks. 
  • March 19 – All religious ceremonies, weddings and funeral services are suspended. 
  • March 16 – Schools and universities close ( postponed indefinitely).
  • March 16 – The plenary sessions of the National Assembly are suspended
  • March 9 – The first case of Covid-19 in Burkina Faso is reported
  • March 3 – Government announces the development of a preparedness and response plan, designates a referral hospital center (CHU de Tengandogo) to welcome infected people and launches an awareness campaign on prevention measures throughout the country.

In addition to the measures announced on April 2, numerous complementary measures to meet socio-economic challenges have been put in place such as the cancellation of various fees and taxes associated with electricity consumption for 90% of the customers of the national electric company, suspension of rents from market shops, support for water and electricity bills as well as security costs, free drinking water at standpipes, the reactivation of the witness shops of the National Society for the Management of Food Security Stocks (SONAGESS) for the sale of basic necessities at social prices, free distribution of food to the poorest communities, the automatic remission of penalties and fines due, the suspension of on-site control operations with the exception of proven cases of fraud, amongst others. Tax-related measures include the exemption from the contribution of microenterprises in the informal sector, exemption from VAT on the sale of products used in the fight against COVID-19, exemption from taxes and customs duties on pharmaceuticals, medical consumables and equipment used in the fight against the coronavirus, the postponement of the deadline for payment of the vehicle tax to the end of June 2020 and the extension of the issuance of tax status certificates to companies not in compliance with their tax obligations until June 30, 2020 . 

Risks, vulnerabilities, obstacles

  • At the health care level, we could witness the collapse of the health system due to the excess of demand for treatment capacities, risks of contamination among medical personnel (which is already limited in terms of numbers) and insufficient technical platforms (laboratory and resuscitation equipment for the diagnosis and management of severe cases). Furthermore, difficulties in applying preventive measures can promote the transmission of the infection. In particular, the inadequacy of compliance with standards of protection and control of infection among health workers, promiscuity and poor individual and collective hygiene practices, food and culinary habits. It should be noted in particular that during Ramadan (April 23 – May 23), cultural practices can go against recommendations on reunification and social distancing and reunification. In terms of forecasting, the information and communication technology department of the CNRST in collaboration with the epidemiologists of the Ministry of Health have modelled the COVID-19 infection taking into account the real data. This model predicts 7000 infections between the end of April and the beginning of May 2020.
  • Socio-economically, the duration and intensity of the containment measures is a major issue for the effect of Covid-19 on the population. With 40% of the population below the national poverty line in 2014, and 80% in the informal employment sector, a large part of the population is vulnerable to the socioeconomic repercussions of social distancing and mobility restrictions. The situation is even more worrying as Burkina Faso is facing an unprecedented food crisis. Malnutrition is endemic with 58% of the population not receiving an adequate caloric intake and 7.6% in acute malnutrition in 2016. According to WFP forecasts, food insecurity could triple by June to affect nearly 2.1 million people.
  • In addition, there are the difficulties linked to the security situation in the east and the north of the country, which limits intervention capacities and has given rise to an increase in the number of internally displaced persons (nearly 850,000 people on 22 April. 2020). Nearly 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • The political context poses an additional challenge with a tense social climate and the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for November 22, 2020.

Potential actions and demands

The President of Burkina Faso presented a response plan of FCFA 394 billion, or 4.45% of GDP on April 2, 2020. In addition to this, a total amount of FCFA 3.4 billion was received from institutions, technical and financial partners on 3 April 2020, to which FCFA 500 million from the State and FCFA 1 billion were added in donations.

At the macro-economic and monetary level:

  • March 26 – the West African Development Bank (BOAD) released FCFA 15 billion per member country of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)
  • March 23 – The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) increased the liquidity available to banks on March 23. 
  • March 21 – The BCEAO announced easier access to bank loans for 1,700 prequalified private companies, a plan inviting the banks to accommodate the victims of Covid-19 companies and avoid bankruptcies, by delaying the payment of interest for a period of 3 months renewable and measures to promote the use of electronic payment.

Key resources

Contributor(s): Mouhamed Drabo.

The C-19 Global South Observatory is a collaboration between