Published: July 29th 2020


Government / Policy

Event Summary - 'One Size Fits All? Incorporating Social Sciences in Holistic Approaches to Tacking COVID-19'

Published: July 29th 2020

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.



We hosted the second and penultimate event in the COVID-19 Research Alliance series on Wednesday 29th July, delivered in partnership with Medixus. It was another fascinating discussion bringing together a diverse panel of expert speakers to explore the challenges and opportunities of developing effective, as well as contextually relevant, mitigation strategies in the fight against COVID-19.Our panel included:

Dr. Isayvani Naicker - Director, Strategy and Partnerships, African Academy of Sciences (South Africa)

Dr. Kate Webb - Paediatric Rheumatologist, The University of Cape Town (South Africa)

Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant - Research Manager, IBM Research Africa (Kenya)

Prof. Muthoni Mathai - Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Nairobi (Kenya)

Event Overview

Dr. Naicker kicked off the presentation with an interesting overview of the recent work of the African Academy of Sciences in collating the research priorities of scientists working across the continent, two of which were ‘ethical considerations for research’ and ‘integrating social sciences in the outbreak response’.

Next up was Dr. Kate Webb who outlined her recent work treating children with COVID-19 related multi inflammatory syndrome. Dr. Webb’s presentation was a powerful reminder that, whilst not at as great a risk as middle-age and elderly patients, we must not forget to consider the clinical danger children face.

IBM’s Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant was next and provided a fascinating insight into the application of artificial intelligence (AI) enabled malaria interventions. She explained how similar technology and approaches can be and are being applied to assist with COVID-19 intervention programmes and decision making.

And last but by no means least, we enjoyed the thought-provoking contributions of Prof. Muthoni Mathai regarding the mental health and behaviour challenges associated with effectively developing mitigation strategies. Her comments were particularly relevant in the context of the growing levels of stigma attached COVID-19 infections.

A full recording of the event is available on the event page and the speakers presentations can be viewed here:

Dr. Isayvani Naicker - View presentation here

Dr. Kate Webb - View presentation here

Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant - View presentation here

Prof. Muthoni Mathai - View presentation here

Upcoming Events

This was the second event in a series of three. The next event will take place on Wednesday 5th August at 1.00pm UK time (2.00pm Central African Time / 3.00pm East African Time). Click on the links below to register.

Event 3 - Wednesday 5th August - ‘Doing More with Less: The African Example’

Previous Events

A summary of Event 1 (Comorbidities and COVID-19: The Double Disease Burden in Africa) can be viewed here, including links to speaker presentations, and a recording of the event can be seen here.