Publications by Afrehealth Members


Dear AFREhealth Community,

Of possible interest, please find attached a presentation by AFREhealth at the 2023 EDCTP Fellows Alumni Forum in France which was delivered by Prof Jean Nachega on the topic: Partnering for Progress: The Journey to Building Sustainable and Impactful Scientific Leadership and Research Partnership in Africa.    

The theme for the Forum was Amplifying Alumni Impact beyond two decades: Building Sustainable scientific leadership and partnerships for Global Health Research In Africa.

Prof Nachega is a member of the AFREhealth Governing Council and formerly the Chair of the AFREhealth Research subcommittee.

Thank you


Recurrent disease outbreaks caused by a range of emerging and resurging pathogens over the past decade reveal major gaps in public health preparedness, detection, and response systems in Africa. Underlying causes of recurrent disease outbreaks include inadequacies in the detection of new infectious disease outbreaks in the community, in rapid pathogen identification, and in proactive surveillance systems. In sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of zoonotic outbreaks occur, there remains the perennial risk of outbreaks of new or re-emerging pathogens for which no vaccines or treatments are available. As the Ebola virus disease, COVID-19, and mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) outbreaks highlight, a major paradigm shift is required to establish an effective infrastructure and common frameworks for preparedness and to prompt national and regional public health responses to mitigate the effects of future pandemics in Africa.

Few data are available on COVID-19 outcomes among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where high-risk comorbidities are prevalent. We investigated the impact of pregnancy on SARS-CoV-2 infection and of SARS-CoV-2 infection on pregnancy to generate evidence for health policy and clinical practice.


We conducted a 6-country retrospective cohort study among hospitalized women of childbearing age between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. Exposures were (1) pregnancy and (2) a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. The primary outcome for both analyses was intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Secondary outcomes included supplemental oxygen requirement, mechanical ventilation, adverse birth outcomes, and in-hospital mortality. We used log-binomial regression to estimate the effect between pregnancy and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Factors associated with mortality were evaluated using competing-risk proportional subdistribution hazards models.


Our analyses included 1315 hospitalized women: 510 pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2, 403 nonpregnant women with SARS-CoV-2, and 402 pregnant women without SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among women with SARS-CoV-2 infection, pregnancy was associated with increased risk for ICU admission (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.42–4.01), oxygen supplementation (aRR: 1.86; 95% CI: 1.44–2.42), and hazard of in-hospital death (adjusted sub-hazard ratio [aSHR]: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.08–3.70). Among pregnant women, SARS-CoV-2 infection increased the risk of ICU admission (aRR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.20–3.35), oxygen supplementation (aRR: 1.57; 95% CI: 1.17–2.11), and hazard of in-hospital death (aSHR: 5.03; 95% CI: 1.79–14.13).


Among hospitalized women in SSA, both SARS-CoV-2 infection and pregnancy independently increased risks of ICU admission, oxygen supplementation, and death. These data support international recommendations to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant women.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnancy is associated with excess maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in both African and higher-resource settings. Furthermore, mounting evidence demonstrates the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women and infants. However, national guidelines in many African countries are equivocal or lack recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. We summarize key data on COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccination among pregnant African women to highlight major barriers to vaccination and recommend 4 interventions. First, policymakers should prioritize pregnant women for COVID-19 vaccination, with a target of 100% coverage. Second, empirically supported public health campaigns should be sustainably implemented to inform and support pregnant women and their healthcare providers in overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Third, COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women should be expanded to include antenatal care, obstetrics/gynecology, and targeted mass vaccination campaigns. Fourth, national monitoring and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine uptake, safety, surveillance, and prospective outcomes assessment should be conducted.

Development of an interprofessional curriculum to improve team-based HIV care in sub-Saharan Africa: a training programme for undergraduate and early career health professionals

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: An urgent need to relook at the training of the African health workforce

About us

The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) is an interprofessional health grouping that seeks to work all stakeholders interested in health profession education , research and service delivery to improve the quality of health care in Africa through research, education and capacity building. It is a conglomerate of individuals, institutions, associations and networks from all the geographic and linguistic regions of Africa namely Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arabophone. Read More...

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