Statistics from Altmetric.com
With more than 9.3 million cases and 480 000 deaths recorded to date,1 COVID-19 pandemic has put global emergency preparedness and the capacity of national health systems to predict and respond to major emergencies under a sharp scrutiny. The response to the pandemic is focused on testing, case management and control measures such as personal hygiene, quarantine and social distancing. However, in most African countries, as elsewhere, these measures are not backed by reliable context-specific data. Instead, they are largely dependent on epidemic curves from China and Europe which appear to differ from those in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the massive economic and social disruptions occasioned by the control measures, governments and other stakeholders are desperate for accurate real-time data on the pandemic’s progress and to inform intervention strategies. Furthermore, scarcity of medical and laboratory resources due to increased demand globally coupled with international travel restrictions has forced countries to look inwards for local innovations and adaptations in COVID-19 testing options and interventions, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE).
Consequently, attention has turned to the contribution of local researchers in the pandemic response and by extension, countries’ science preparedness. With respect to health emergencies, science preparedness can be defined as ‘a collaborative effort to establish and sustain a scientific research framework that can inform and enable emergency planners, responders and the whole community to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from major public health emergencies and disasters’.2 As such, science preparedness is an integral part of emergency responsiveness despite receiving less attention than health service preparedness. Although researchers, research support personnel, research infrastructure and mobilisable resources form the core of science preparedness, mounting a robust science-backed emergency recovery response entails complex interplay between multiple elements and actors. As illustrated in figure 1, mechanisms to expedite ethical approval of …
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.