Implementing COVID-19 Public Health and Social Measures in Africa



The challenge

Public health and social measures (PHSMs) that encourage physical distancing, such as school closures, business closures and stay-at-home orders, have contributed to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Their direct applicability in many resource constrained settings, where economic and social conditions are considerably different from those in high-income countries, remains unclear. Evidence-based adaptation of PHSMs to suit local contexts, including appropriate relief measures, will improve effectiveness and limit social and economic disruption. Clear information on the data ‘triggers’ for increasing or decreasing PHSMs will help African countries adapt PHSMs to local circumstances, and to be responsive to a changing epidemiological, social, and economic landscape.


The opportunity


IPSOS, a leading global data intelligence firm, has joined with Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, Africa CDC, the World Health Organization’s African Regional Office (AFRO) and Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO), and the World Economic Forum to form a new public-private partnership to support evidence-based implementation of NPIs to reduce COVID-19 transmission in African countries (“flattening the curve”) while working with governments to mitigate social and economic disruption and other unintended consequences. 


Each member organization will contribute key competencies to the initiative:


IPSOS will provide the collection and analysis of data on the impact of COVID-19, behaviours surrounding it, and control measures put in place in African countries


Resolve to Save Lives will support Africa CDC and WHO to translate insight from IPSOS data and other sources into country-level, tailored guidelines that support implementation of NPIs while protecting populations.


Africa CDC will work with the London School of Tropical Medicine and other partners to support the interpretation of key data sources. Africa CDC, which operates across the entire African Union, will support the dissemination of real-time data, supporting member countries to use the information to inform policy and practice.


World Health Organization AFRO and EMRO regional offices will provide insight and guidance on COVID-19 epidemiology and science, and support translation of data into guidance to support emergency operations centres and civil society.


World Economic Forum will work with its vast network of public- and private-sector partners to galvanize a community of action to accelerate the dissemination of real-time data throughout their networks across the African continent.


How can my organization support this effort?


Organizations can support and accelerate this work by:


Disseminating guidelines and other materials: Civil society and in-country stakeholders can assist in local dissemination of communications materials. All materials will be available, as they are published, on TopLink. Please follow the project page to stay informed of communications updates.  

Joining regular webinars to stay up to date on findings and guidance.

Contextualizing and adapt the guidance – The project will take an overview approach, focusing on national-level guidance, with some materials tailored to large urban centres. Contextualizing data and adapting guidance to changing local situations will help this work reach more people.

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