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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.

BMJ Open ; 12(5): e056896, 2022 05 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891829


OBJECTIVES: We conducted a review of intra-action review (IAR) reports of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. We highlight best practices and challenges and offer perspectives for the future. DESIGN: A thematic analysis across 10 preparedness and response domains, namely, governance, leadership, and coordination; planning and monitoring; risk communication and community engagement; surveillance, rapid response, and case investigation; infection prevention and control; case management; screening and monitoring at points of entry; national laboratory system; logistics and supply chain management; and maintaining essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. SETTING: All countries in the WHO African Region were eligible for inclusion in the study. National IAR reports submitted by March 2021 were analysed. RESULTS: We retrieved IAR reports from 18 African countries. The COVID-19 pandemic response in African countries has relied on many existing response systems such as laboratory systems, surveillance systems for previous outbreaks of highly infectious diseases and a logistics management information system. These best practices were backed by strong political will. The key challenges included low public confidence in governments, inadequate adherence to infection prevention and control measures, shortages of personal protective equipment, inadequate laboratory capacity, inadequate contact tracing, poor supply chain and logistics management systems, and lack of training of key personnel at national and subnational levels. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that African countries' response to the COVID-19 pandemic was prompt and may have contributed to the lower cases and deaths in the region compared with countries in other regions. The IARs demonstrate that many technical areas still require immediate improvement to guide decisions in subsequent waves or future outbreaks.

COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Africa/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , World Health Organization
Pan African Medical Journal ; 35(2):1-3, 2020.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-706343


Concerns have been expressed about the view point of WHO AFRO concerning research for health in the African Region. WHO AFRO considers research a critical component in the improvement of health in the Africa region. Ensuring the effectiveness of our strategies, policies and programmes requires evidence. In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, WHO research interests cover key areas of the response. The WHO AFRO consider research as critical in our efforts at protecting people against health emergencies and pandemics like the COVID-19 and ensuring universal access to proven interventions. In view of this, the WHO has taken steps to strengthen capacity for research in the region. The results of these efforts may take time to manifest but will surely do as we persist in our drive, with support from our partners.