ePrints@IIScePrints@IISc Home | About | Browse | Latest Additions | Advanced Search | Contact | Help

Leveraging human resources for outbreak analysis: lessons from an international collaboration to support the sub-Saharan African COVID-19 response

Botero-Mesa, S and Coelho, FC and Nwosu, K and Wicht, B and Venkatasubramanian, A and Wagner, O and Valera, C and Nguimbis, B and Câmara, D and Reis, I and Bianchi, L and Mahdiani, M and Onsimbie, PA and Diallo, PAN and Jacques, L and Muloliwa, AM and Bougma, M and Mukavhi, L and Kaneria, A and Peruvemba, R and Gupta, A and Triulzi, I and James, A and Carrara, V and Ngambi, W and Habibi, Z and Adhanom, MT and Rodriguez Velásquez, S and Sestito, P and Kousil, T and Biru, L and Vivacqua, D and Dalal, J and Mian, A and Roelens, M and Orel, E and Hofer, CB and Wangara, F and Mboussou, F and Mlanda, T and Bukhari, A and Lee, TM-H and Ngom, R and Stoll, B and Chimbetete, C and Abbate, J and Impouma, B and Keiser, O (2022) Leveraging human resources for outbreak analysis: lessons from an international collaboration to support the sub-Saharan African COVID-19 response. In: BMC Public Health, 22 (1).

BMC_puc_hea_22-1_2022.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13327-1


Emerging infectious diseases are a growing threat in sub-Saharan African countries, but the human and technical capacity to quickly respond to outbreaks remains limited. Here, we describe the experience and lessons learned from a joint project with the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) to support the sub-Saharan African COVID-19 response. In June 2020, WHO AFRO contracted a number of consultants to reinforce the COVID-19 response in member states by providing actionable epidemiological analysis. Given the urgency of the situation and the magnitude of work required, we recruited a worldwide network of field experts, academics and students in the areas of public health, data science and social science to support the effort. Most analyses were performed on a merged line list of COVID-19 cases using a reverse engineering model (line listing built using data extracted from national situation reports shared by countries with the Regional Office for Africa as per the IHR (2005) obligations). The data analysis platform The Renku Project (https://renkulab.io) provided secure data storage and permitted collaborative coding. Over a period of 6 months, 63 contributors from 32 nations (including 17 African countries) participated in the project. A total of 45 in-depth country-specific epidemiological reports and data quality reports were prepared for 28 countries. Spatial transmission and mortality risk indices were developed for 23 countries. Text and video-based training modules were developed to integrate and mentor new members. The team also began to develop EpiGraph Hub, a web application that automates the generation of reports similar to those we created, and includes more advanced data analyses features (e.g. mathematical models, geospatial analyses) to deliver real-time, actionable results to decision-makers. Within a short period, we implemented a global collaborative approach to health data management and analyses to advance national responses to health emergencies and outbreaks. The interdisciplinary team, the hands-on training and mentoring, and the participation of local researchers were key to the success of this initiative.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: BMC Public Health
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Author(s).
Keywords: COVID-19; Data management; Health emergency; Outbreak; Pandemic; Sub-Saharan Africa
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2022 06:08
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2022 06:08
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76573

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item