The COVID-19 Research Alliance - 'One Size Fits All? Incorporating Social Sciences in Holistic Approaches to Tackling COVID-19'
Date & Time:
29th Jul 2020
12:00pm WedAdd to calendar
London, UKView on maps
Event Two of Three
Across Africa and around the world, medics and virologists have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, both in terms of treating patients and in formulating the strategies and policies designed to keep us safe.
However, as the impacts of the disease are felt across more and more aspects of our lives, and treating it becomes more complex, there are growing calls for social scientists to play a greater role in helping to shape mitigation policies.
But policy-making in Africa, as in other parts of the world, is a controversial and contested arena. As we grapple with the uncertainties that COVID-19 presents, there are many competing voices, and competing interests.
This is not to suggest that medics have conspiratorially excluded social scientists, yet the latter have a track record of powerful interventions that should be acknowledged, notably in helping to understand and contain the spread of Ebola virus in west and central regions of the continent.
Such insights and experience is particularly important in the context of tackling stigmas associated with COVID-19 and in diverse African settings, it is increasingly obvious that what is required are strategies and approaches relevant to the particular health, social, economic, demographic, political and historical conditions of different countries.
Social scientists can help navigate this complex landscape and in this second event of the Research Alliance series, we argue for an increased focus on the role of social sciences, whilst showcasing some world-class research interventions happening on the ground in Africa.
The COVID-19 Research Alliance
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven itself to be the most complex and multifaceted challenge humanity has faced in living memory.
On the continent, it has forced healthcare systems to the brink of collapse, disrupted the education of nearly 400 million young Africans and threatened agriculture and food supply systems with an estimated 20% drop in productivity. All of this has helped usher in the deepest global recession since world war two, threatening lives and livelihoods from Cairo to Cape Town.
Addressing the challenges that COVID-19 has presented will require unprecedented levels of regional and international collaboration.
That’s why Bobab and Medixus have teamed up again to deliver a new online event series, this time focusing on the crucial role of interdisciplinary research in the fight against COVID-19; we call it the COVID-19 Research Alliance.
Over the course of three webinars, we’ll bring together diverse groups of academics and researchers, business and charity leaders, policy makers and government representatives to debate the issues, promote innovative solutions and showcase exciting research collaborations striving to understand the defining challenge of our time.
And we’ll be covering a range of interdisciplinary research topics. These include exploring the under-theorised interface between so-called ‘hard’ medical sciences and ‘soft’ social sciences; showcasing world-leading African researchers contributing to our understanding of COVID-19 comorbidities with both communicable and non-communicable diseases; and we’ll be asking what can Africa teach the rest of the world about successfully leveraging existing infectious disease research and response infrastructure.