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Coordination and Management of COVID-19 in Africa through Health Operations and Technical Expertise Pillar: A Case Study from WHO AFRO One Year into Response

Ngoy, Nsenga, Conteh, Ishata Nannie, Oyugi, Boniface, Abok, Patrick, Kobie, Aminata, Phori, Peter, Hamba, Cephas, Ejiofor, Nonso Ephraim, Fitzwanga, Kaizer, Appiah, John, and others. (2022) Coordination and Management of COVID-19 in Africa through Health Operations and Technical Expertise Pillar: A Case Study from WHO AFRO One Year into Response. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, 7 (8). Article Number 183. E-ISSN 2414-6366. (doi:10.3390/tropicalmed7080183) (KAR id:99008)

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Abstract: Background: following the importation of the first Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case into Africa on 14 February 2020 in Egypt, the World Health Organisation (WHO) regional office for Africa (AFRO) activated a three-level incident management support team (IMST), with technical pillars, to coordinate planning, implementing, supervision, and monitoring of the situation and progress of implementation as well as response to the pandemic in the region. At WHO AFRO, one of the pillars was the health operations and technical expertise (HOTE) pillar with five sub-pillars: case management, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, laboratory, and emergency medical team (EMT). This paper documents the learnings

(both positive and negative for consideration of change) from the activities of the HOTE pillar and recommends future actions for improving its coordination for future emergencies, especially for multi-country outbreaks or pandemic emergency responses. Method: we conducted a document review of the HOTE pillar coordination meetings’ minutes, reports, policy and strategy documents of the activities, and outcomes and feedback on updates on the HOTE pillar given at regular intervals to the Regional IMST. In addition, key informant interviews were conducted with 14 members of the HOTE sub pillar. Key Learnings: the pandemic response revealed that shared decision making, collaborative coordination, and planning have been significant in the COVID-19 response in Africa.

The HOTE pillar’s response structure contributed to attaining the IMST objectives in the African region and translated to timely support for the WHO AFRO and the member states. However, while the coordination mechanism appeared robust, some challenges included duplication of coordination efforts, communication, documentation, and information management. Recommendations: we recommend streamlining the flow of information to better understand the challenges that countries face. There is a need to define the role and responsibilities of sub-pillar team members and provide new team members with information briefs to guide them on where and how to access internal information and work under the pillar. A unified documentation system is important and could help to strengthen intra-pillar collaboration and communication. Various indicators should be developed to constantly monitor the HOTE team’s deliverables, performance and its members.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/tropicalmed7080183
Uncontrolled keywords: coronavirus; coordination; health operations; technical expertise; AFRO
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: George Austin-Coskry
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2022 10:47 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 14:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Oyugi, Boniface:
Okeibunor, Joseph C.:
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