Strengthening SACIDS Expert Support to Regional COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness in Southern, Central and East Africa
Grant Agreement for Award #20-45012
Background: The Corona Virus Disease-19 (COVID-19) outbreak first reported in Wuhan, China on 31stDecember 2019 has now spread to almost all continents. By March 3, 2020, already 66 countries have reported cases of COVID-19, three of them in Africa (Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria). The health systems in many African countries are ill-prepared to identify and respond quickly and appropriately to control COVID-19 and other similar infectious diseases outbreaks. The objective of this project is to strengthen the role of Member Institutions of the SACIDS Foundation for One Health to provide expert support to national Ministries of Health and public health laboratories in Southern, Central and East Africa.
Approach: This project is being implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia through four work packages: (i) Targeted disease event surveillance especially at ports of entry and cross-border areas for severe acute respiratory illnesses that might be suggestive of COVID-19; (ii) Contact tracing of COVID-19 suspect cases; (iii) Rapid diagnostic capability for COVID-19 and its differentiation from other influenza-like illnesses and/or severe acute respiratory infections; (iv) Informed risk analysis and improved risk communication.
The Skoll Foundation linked grants to SACIDS, EAIDSNet and AfricaCDC were timely and enabled us to collaborate and coordinate actions within the framework of the “African Continental Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Pandemic”, which includes promoting evidence-based public health practice for surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, case management, and control of COVID-19. To meet the surveillance objectives, high priority is given to (a) ensuring high-quality screening at ports of entry, among contacts of cases, and other high-risk settings, (b) enhancing existing influenza-like illness (ILI), severe acute respiratory iinfection (SARI), and event-based surveillance systems, (c) supporting complete and prompt investigation of cases and tracing of contacts; (d) adapting health information systems for managing case and contact data; (e) monitoring and reporting numbers, characteristics, and outcomes of cases that are both clinically diagnosed and laboratory confirmed, (f) investigating rumors and supporting prompt communication to debunk false stories.
To strengthen expert support to national Ministries of Health and public health laboratories in Southern, Central and East Africa through the SACIDS Foundation for One Health to set up:
- Targeted disease event surveillance, especially at ports of entry (e.g. airports) and cross-border areas for severe acute respiratory illnesses that might be suggestive of COVID-19
- Contact tracing of COVID-19 suspect cases
- Rapid diagnostic capability for COVID-19 and its differentiation from other influenza-like illnesses and/or severe acute respiratory infections
- Informed risk communication
This is 12-month project March 15, 2020-March 14, 2021 at a cost of USD 4m to Sokoine University, Tanzania (SACIDS = USD2m and East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network= USD2m)