Science Policy Engagement to support Evidence Informed Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Africa - Shared screen with speaker view
Nora Ndege
Welcome everyone to our Today's Teleconvening. A quick summary of the organisational aspects of this session.Please mute yourself and only unmute for presentations or questions.Given the restricted time we have for discussion, we encourage you to write your questions on the chat.We can then read the questions at the end of the pesentation or the panel session. You can also ask in person during the 5 minutes Q&A. The agenda is shared on the chat.
Mitchelle Akumu
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Nora Ndege
Many thanks Prof. Asha for the presentation.
Asha George
point noted, we have male scientists & civil society members at our advisory, tecnical leadership and across the participants driving this initiative, all are welcome https://www.ghhbuzzboard.org/
Leah Mwai
@Bernards Ogutu it would be great if you could comment on the issue raised by Asha on including pregnant women in clinical trials and the ethical, regulatory and practical policy implications...
Joanes Atela
That was on a light note @Asha :) . Otherwise the issues you have raised are fundamental.
Uzma Alam
@Asha thank you for putting forward action calls! something for us all to think about
Odhiambo Gandhi
Thank you Prof. George. However, I did not capture the needed evidence sufficient enough to 'shame the patriarchy.' I presume this was not deliberate. Maybe I missed out.
Uzma Alam
Please feel free to post your questions in the chat for the presenters
Asha George
apologies for running out of time these action points were from a webinar on gender & COVID-19 trials with two clinical scientists emphasising this point...men still dominate senior decision-making committees defining research, we need to change gate keepers into enablers https://www.genderhealthhub.org/articles/sex-and-gender-in-covid-19-vaccines-data-policy-and-communication/
Uzma Alam
@Richard Lessells could you please comment on Asha Georges point of impact on treatment based on gender
Joanes Atela
Thanks Asha for sharing. Perhaps the biggest question is to understand what needs to be done to transition from gate keepers to enablers.
Thumbi Ndung'u
Great presentation Richard. What data collection tools would facilitate a faster response and great involvement in clinical studies across Africa?
Richard Lessells
ACCCOS observational study on clinical outcomes in high-care and intensive care units in Africa https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00441-4/fulltext
Richard Lessells
@Thumbi I think simplicity is the key for data collection in clinical studies - we still tend to overcomplicate. And this is highlighted in COVID-19 where safety of participants and safety of clinical research staff is paramount - so you want to limit time spent collecting data. Also data linkage is important - to routine health data systems, but we still have challenges with quality of routine data systems
Joanes Atela
@Dixon. Do you have some data indicating how serious mental health is in Africa and particular in relation to CVOID-19?
Asha George
there are gender elements to the priorities mentioned by Dixon: task-shifting to CHWs, means task-shifting to a cadre where women are largely unsupported by the health system, but carry the burden of responding...the question is not whether CHWs can do something, but how can we support them to do so sustainably and equitably
Mary Bitta
@Dixon should we anticipate neuropsychiatric sequelae related to long COVID?
Patriciah Jeckonia LVCT
what are your thoughts on mental health prevention? there is too much focus on response and psychiatric treatment of mental health; very little for prevention, awareness and destigmatization of mental health
Leah Mwai
@Richard Lessells , what about clinical characterisation/risk profiling with regards to AEFIs/ serious adverse reactions during vaccine roll out in our contexts? Do we see identical rates and patters to those reported elsewhere in the world, do we have the data on this?
Richard Lessells
Great point about mental health prevention - could think broadly about this from perspective of schools, universities, workplaces - given deep impact of COVID-19 on families, children etc.
Asha George
Also while we assume that digital health technologies reach everyone, there is emerging evidence of quite a strong gender digital divide...there is a webinar series on this topic https://iigh.unu.edu/about/unu-iigh/pillar-two/gender-and-digital-health
Richard Lessells
@Leah Good point and agree this is important. Think we are just starting to accumulate data. I know here in South Africa we do have systems for surveillance and clinical characterisation of AEFIs but it's difficult. And like many things, because we are late with implementing vaccines, our surveillance systems may be heavily biased towards looking for events that have occurred elsewhere (for example the thrombotic events, myocarditis) - maybe there is a risk we then miss a signal of other AEFIs that are important in our populations?
Asha George
Agree the mental health consequences for the health workforce in responding to COVID-19 has been identified as a key research priority for gender and health service delivery
Leah Mwai
@ Bernards Ogutu, the majority of clinical trial partcipants for COVID 19 trials come from USA, Europe, Latin America, Asia, in Africa mostly S. Africa. Was this tsrtaegic or a capacity issue?
Richard Lessells
In SA mainly used existing vaccine trial infrastructure for HIV, TB and other infectious diseases. So could be agile in implementing COVID-19 vaccine trials. Also benefited from strong relationships with some of the companies also from the HIV research field (e.g. Janssen/J&J)
Richard Lessells
Very sorry I have to drop off for another meeting. Thanks for asking be to part of this - very interesting discussions
Alphonsus Neba
Even without sufficient vaccines on the continent, covid-19 vaccine hesitancy appears to be deep rooted on the continent. What efforts are being made to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and could there be links between vaccine hesitancy and mental health?
Asha George
Apologies have to leave for another commitment for which I am overdue, very honored to be part of this tele-convening and look forward to further engagement moving forward, with best regards to all, Asha