The COVID-19 Research Alliance - 'Doing More with Less: The African Example'
Date & Time:
5th Aug 2020
12:00pm WedAdd to calendar
London, UKView on maps
Event Three of Three
Its weakened health systems meant many predicted a heavy toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Though we still have a long way to go, the reality on the ground has been quite different, with Africa only moderately affected so far.
Hypotheses used to explain this include younger demographics, a favourable climate and early and effective lockdown measures in countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Senegal. Another explanation is the role of centralised public health infrastructure, coupled with expertise developed during previous pandemics.
Across the continent, hard lessons learnt by African scientists and health officials in the fight against diseases such as TB, polio and HIV/AIDS, are being put to use in the fight against COVID-19. The hope is that by adapting and leveraging existing technology and systems, the continent’s lack of critical care infrastructure can be compensated for.
And it’s already happening. Many African countries that experienced Ebola outbreaks were quick to focus on fast and thorough contact tracing, along with strict quarantine measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19. In South Africa, a network of over 200 laboratories set-up in response to past HIV and TB outbreaks is being redeployed, whilst WHO Africa has repurposed its Avatar system to help hunt down COVID-19.
It is now all too clear that the shambolic responses in countries such as Italy, the UK and particularly the US, do not offer appropriate models of preparedness and response. Instead, in this third and final event of the Research Alliance series, we spotlight those innovators who are doing more with less and ask, what can Africa teach the rest of the world in the fight against COVID-19?
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.