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J Public Health (Oxf) ; 2022 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2097442


BACKGROUND: This paper aims to document the numerous health innovations developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) using a scoping review approach. METHODS: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, the Index Medicus for EMR to identify peer-reviewed articles between December 2019 and November 2020 and WHO and ministries of health websites for grey literature. Following an initial review, full-text screening identified studies reporting on health innovations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. RESULTS: This review describes 82 health innovations reported from 20 countries across the region: 80% (n = 66) were digital and technology-based products and services including health care delivery (n = 25), public health informatics (n = 24) and prevention (n = 17); 20% (n = 16) were innovative processes including health care delivery (n = 8), educational programmes (n = 6) and community engagement (n = 2). CONCLUSION: The speed with which these technologies were deployed in different contexts demonstrates their ease of adoption and manageability and thus can be considered as the most scalable. Strengthened frameworks to protect users' privacy, documentation and evaluation of impact of innovations, and training of health care professionals are fundamental for promoting health innovations in the EMR.

PLoS Global Public Health ; 2(6), 2022.
Article in English | CAB Abstracts | ID: covidwho-2021490


The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the use of evidence for policy-making high up on the international agenda. To fight the pandemic, Governments around the world have publicly stressed the need to draw on evidence by engaging scientific advisors and advisory bodies [1]. Furthermore, the increased demand for evidence has led to a global push for innovative solutions such as the scaling-up of living evidence syntheses [2]. At the same time, COVID-19 revealed fatal structural and systemic weaknesses in the production and use of evidence-flaws which have cost lives [3]. In many cases, institutional mechanisms and capacities to systematically mobilize and contextualize the best available evidence for rapid decision-making were missing [4]. As a consequence, policy-makers, practitioners and citizens alike were confronted with a deluge of competing claims and misinformation, severely limiting suitable decisionmaking and taking action [5]. The related surge of vaccine hesitancy has disproportionally impacted ethnic minorities and deprived communities, with the lowest vaccine uptake, worryingly, to be seen among the most vulnerable people-the older, the more clinically vulnerable, and those living in the most deprived areas-worsening pre-existing disparities in vaccine use, health inequalities and socio-economic marginalization [6, 7]. To assess different institutional responses in terms of the evidence-policy-society nexus and to learn lessons on how to build equity-centred, agile and responsive evidence-informed decision- making mechanisms, WHO convened its first Global Evidence-to-Policy Summit [8] in late 2021. The Summit, organized by the newly created Evidence to Policy Unit at WHO headquarters in collaboration with the corresponding teams in WHO regional offices, brought together more than 2,500 policy-makers, knowledge brokers, health actors, civil society representatives and researchers from around the world.