Exploring and learning from evidence, policy, and systems responses to COVID-19 in West and Central Africa

An effective response to COVID-19 requires a complex array of relevant evidence packaged in user-friendly forms to support decision-making about current and future responses. This project will map out existing evidence and its use in informing responses to COVID-19. It will identify sectoral evidence gaps (epidemiological, public health, health system, and health technology capacities, etc.), as well as intervention responses to emerging epidemics and pandemics. It will document, compare, and contrast experiences at national and subnational levels, with a focus on displaced and vulnerable populations across countries and sub-regional contexts.

The project will be implemented in six countries in West and Central Africa: Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal. To cope with the fast-moving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is adopting a flexible study approach with iterative analysis over time. The deeper understanding generated by the project will support more detailed work and interventions that benefit displaced and other vulnerable populations. It will have an emphasis on integrating equity and gender considerations, with attention to information and experiences affecting vulnerable populations.

The research team will engage with decision-makers to inform evolving decision-making and serve as a strong basis for building resilient health systems. The work will contribute to identifying areas for inclusion in sub-regional observatories and follow-up work in the West and Central Africa region for improved evidence-informed decision-making. The project will build collaborative learning within and across countries through discussions and policy dialogues with key stakeholders to inform appropriate multisectoral responses to COVID-19 and similar health emergencies.

Project ID


Project status



24 months

IDRC Officer

Marie-Gloriose Ingabire

Total funding

CA$ 1,249,400


Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, South of Sahara


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Irene Agyepong


Ghana Health Service

Institution Country


Project Leader

Wim Van Damme


Prins Leopold Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde

Institution Country


Institution Website


Project Leader

Issiaka Sombie


Organisation Ouest Africaine de la Santé

Institution Country

Burkina Faso

Institution Website