Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - a pandemic that has claimed hundred of thousands of lives across the globe and spread to numerous African countries has caused an unprecedented global health threat. Governments and health authorities across Africa are striving to limit the spread of infections which will be catastrophic in a continent that is already characterized by numerous challenges in healthcare provision. During this pandemic, ReAct Africa has partnered with Africa CDC in organizing and facilitating webinars to raise awareness on COVID-19.
ReAct Africa takes a holistic and overarching perspective in all matters pertaining to antimicrobial resistance and raising awareness by informing different sectors under the one health approach about current healthcare challenges. ReAct Africa strives to bring together experts and key stakeholders and increases collaboration with relevant stakeholders for concerted action on improving healthcare in Africa.
During this pandemic, ReAct Africa has partnered with Africa CDC in organizing and facilitating webinars to raise awareness on COVID-19.
The ReAct Africa and Africa CDC webinar series had sessions with topics detailed below:
Session 1 – Understanding COVID-19:
- Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa
- Dr. Duncan Chanda, Director Adult Infectious Diseases Centre of Excellence-University Teaching Hospital, Zambia & Deputy Chair AMS
Session 2- Basics of viral infections & diagnostics:
Dr. Matti Karvanen, Scientific Officer, ReAct Europe
Session 3 – Treatment of viral infections including COVID-19
- Dr. Sujith Chandy, Director ReAct Asia Pacific, Professor Christian Medical Centre, Vellore, India
Session 4 – COVID-19 and Antimicrobial Resistance
- Prof. Caline Mattar, Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, Washington University, St Louis, USA
Session 5 – Country responses to COVID-19 and the role of Africa-CDC and Civil Society Organizations
Panel Discussion with:
- Ms. Akhona Tshangela, Lead Scientific & Policy, Africa CDC
- Dr. Yewande Alimi, AMR Programme Coordinator, Africa CDC
- Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa
- Dr. Philip Mathew Associate Professor Community Medicine, PIMS India & Consultant, ReAct Asia Pacific
- Ms. Otridah Kapona Lab Scientist, AMR Focal Point, Zambia
Session 6 – Affecting food systems and food security in Africa
- Dr. Scott Newman, Delivery Manager for FAO’s Africa Regional Initiative 2: Sustainable Production Intensification and Value Chain Development, and Senior Animal Health & Production Officer at FAO Regional Office for Africa in Ghana.
Session 7 – High-Level Discussion: Reflections on Post COVID-19 & global health including lessons for future responses to pandemics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
- Dr. Tim Jinks – Wellcome Trust
- Prof. Otto Cars – Founder of ReAct
- Dr. Patricia Geli – World Bank
- Dr. Stefan Peterson – UNICEF
- Dr. Robert Skov – ICARS
Sharing knowledge on COVID-19
The sessions enabled the sharing of knowledge on COVID-19 from expert presenters who shared the knowledge they have regarding the current pandemic.
The sessions also provided a platform for discussions and question and answer sessions after each presentation. This allowed for participants from different countries to share their present experiences and challenges regarding the pandemic.
CSOs have important roles in Africa
A number of civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the webinars. Civil society organizations’ role not only as partners with the government but also providing stakeholder platforms for collaboration and integration of health issues in Africa. In addition, civil society organizations have the capability to function as monitoring and evaluation agents tracking the progress on commitments that governments make in areas such as surveillance, affordable access, infection prevention and control, and raising awareness about antimicrobial resistance which are all very important even in the current pandemic condition.
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