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Samj South African Medical Journal ; 112(5B):356-360, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1897102


During a public health emergency, coordination and management are essential for ensuring timeous, decisive, and harmonised leadership. In this paper, the governance structures utilised in South Africa (SA) during the COVID-19 pandemic are recorded and the key strengths and weaknesses of response in the country are discussed. A qualitative methodology is used for the case study and comprises insights from stakeholders who were at the forefront of SA???s response as well as from documentation that was used to guide the response. Structured, transparent, science-based and agile coordination and management systems are necessary to gain the public???s trust during a public health emergency. This case study contributes to the literature on governing a pandemic and shares lessons learned from the COVID-19 response. The lessons learned by the stakeholders within the SA governance structures can be leveraged in future public health emergencies within SA and other low-and middle-income countries.

S Afr Med J ; 112(5b): 366-370, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1897103


In South Africa (SA), the first case of COVID-19 was reported on 5 March 2020 from a traveller who had returned from Italy. Increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths necessitated the design and implementation of community screening, testing, and tracing as a control strategy. The SA government's plans to implement community-based screening, testing, contact tracing and movement modelling during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic presented both opportunities and challenges. In this article, we present our experiences, opportunities and lessons for community-based COVID-19 response, anchoring these efforts in the primary healthcare system.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Contact Tracing , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
S Afr Med J ; 112(5b): 361-365, 2022 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1897101


By May 2021, South Africa (SA) had experienced two 'waves' of COVID-19 infections, with an initial peak of infections reached in July 2020, followed by a larger peak of infections in January 2021. Public health decisions rely on accurate and timely disease surveillance and epidemiological analyses, and accessibility of data at all levels of government is critical to inform stakeholders to respond effectively. In this paper, we describe the adaptation, development and operation of epidemiological surveillance and modelling systems in SA in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, including data systems for monitoring laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, mortality and recoveries at a national and provincial level, and how these systems were used to inform modelling projections and public health decisions. Detailed descriptions on the characteristics and completeness of individual datasets are not provided in this paper. Rapid development of robust data systems was necessary to support the response to the SA COVID-19 epidemic. These systems produced data streams that were used in decision-making at all levels of government. While much progress was made in producing epidemiological data, challenges remain to be overcome to address gaps to better prepare for future waves of COVID-19 and other health emergencies.

COVID-19 , Epidemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Government , Humans , Public Health , South Africa/epidemiology