It is important to study evidence use processes in humanitarian settings affected by the COVID-19 pandemic for several reasons. First, SARS-COV-2 is a new virus and the level of infection is unprecedented, with most of its initial effects on both health outcomes and society unknown. This unknown nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that current evidence-based guidelines for the response to COVID-19 are limited. Without a strong but urgently needed evidence-based response, it was initially unclear what aid workers would think about program design and optimization and what exactly needed to be done. Second, the lack of context-specific evidence on COVID-19 has opened the door for information initiatives to collect and curate existing knowledge from past epidemics and to explore new evidence and guidelines for quality and relevance. An example of this is the Partnership for Evidence-Based Responses to COVID-19 (PERC). PERC is a consortium of global public health and private sector organizations supporting evidence-based efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in African Union (AU) member states. PERC collects social, economic, epidemiological, and demographic data from member countries to help determine the acceptability, effectiveness, and impact of public health and social responses to COVID-19. PERC was created in March 2020 to provide real-time information and guidance to African Union member states on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the continent. The need for evidence-based interventions to address the public health crisis is well established. Recently, however, the COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted the importance of updating global evidence-based guidelines to address context-specific and emerging needs in the humanitarian setting. For public health and humanitarian agencies to respond effectively to such complex crises, access to the latest evidence-based guidelines that describe what interventions should be recommended and what adaptations may be effective in specific contexts or circumstances is essential. EBPH is a proven solution for increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of public health and humanitarian interventions by directing resources to interventions that prove effective, while providing space for innovative development and evaluation of new strategies.
The Use of Evidence in the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Humanitarian Settings
By Delelegn Emwodew | EBPH in COVID-19 Affected Humanitarian Settings | 9 Mar 2023
I am a health system researcher with strong interest in implementation science research, digital health and health technologies. I have published more than 15 scientific papers in peer-reviewed international journals.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of updating global evidence-based guidelines to address context-specific and emerging needs in humanitarian settings. This blog discusses the role of evidence-based public health practice in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in humanitarian settings.
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