Amref Health Africa has launched the COVID-19 Response Governance Mapping Initiative, a study on the sustainability and effectiveness of COVID-19 response efforts implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal and Malawi.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the challenges in health systems and demonstrated the importance of strong and effective governance in response efforts. The study examined the pandemic response governance under three levels of information: political and legal order, key actors involved, and the nature of measures taken.
The study also identified executive committees as the primary decision-makers in the COVID-19 response, with advisory committees established to advise decision-makers and coordination committees set up to manage the implementation of policies and measures.
These key actors, drawn from existing and newly established task force groups, cut across government institutions, security agencies, private sector, civil society and religious groups, business and the scientific community.
‘‘Governance involving health actors needs to have moral and ethical considerations. When lives are at stake, decision making on the acceptable, appropriate and sustainable measures and policies need to be for the greater good and protect people’s lives,” said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO Amref Health Africa.
“Strengthening governance related to planning, coordination and implementation of COVID-19 response efforts needs accountability and transparency to enhance public participation, protect people’s lives and increase the effectiveness of the emergency response.” He added.
The findings of the study showcase the indispensable need for accountability in governance related to the provision of essential services, emergency responses, intergovernmental and private sector coordination, and community engagement during the pandemic.
The study will also offer key lessons to ensure effective response efforts are sustainable and effective, that includes: Clearly defined roles, responsibilities and lines of command, Co-existence between science and politics, obedience to stipulated health guidelines, Implementation of proper mechanisms to tackle misinformation, increase in security surveillance to enforce COVID-19 measures and increase of COVID-19 awareness campaigns