COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from common cold to more severe diseases
It was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan, China in December 2019
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11 2020
To date, there is no specific cure, medicine or vaccine for COVID-19


Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which began in December 2019, presents a significant challenge for the entire world. The virus has been spreading rapidly across nations in the world, with devastating impact on almost all aspects of life. The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11 2020. So far, there are over 22 million confirmed cases (as at August 2020) recorded across the world.

The World Health Organization and most local governments have provided several recommendations to prevent Coronavirus spread and/or flatten the curve which include:

  • Regular hand-washing with soap
  • Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Staying at home and social distancing
  • Wearing masks especially in public and highly populated places
Most common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, dry cough and fatigue
Less common symptoms: aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

AFIDEP COVID-19 Response

AFIDEP is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Our priority is to ensure the safety of our staff, partners and communities during this period, even as we make necessary adjustments to ensure the continuity of our operations.

Protect yourself: wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 30 seconds
Protect yourself: clean your hands with hand sanitiser when soap and water are not available
Protect yourself: avoid touching your face especially your eyes, nose and mouth

COVID-19 Institutional Measures Taken

The Institute is strictly adhering to all official national and international guidelines and procedures and setting our own protocols to ensure we safeguard the well-being and safety of our staff, and partners.

At the moment, all staff have been facilitated to work remotely from home. This means that our operations are continuing normally except for some activities requiring physical gatherings (e.g. workshops), which have been halted. Notably, we have adopted online modes of working for our collaborative work with governments, parliaments, and other partners to reduce disruptions in this work. A strict sanitization policy has been enforced in both our offices in Kenya and Malawi to ensure that the few who, once in a while, need to access the offices practice the highest levels of hygiene. See further updates on measures being taken in our country offices:

Protect yourself: wear a mask when you are outside of your home, or if you are feeling sick
Protect yourself: Maintain physical distance, social distance and avoid crowded places
Protect others: when you suspect you might be exposed, self-quarantine and/or seek medical care

COVID-19 Evidence Response

In line with our mandate to have evidence used consistently to transform lives in Africa:

  • AFIDEP is supporting wide dissemination of data and evidence on COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds.
  • We are also part of ongoing conversations on preventive and mitigative measures being adopted by African governments with a view to provide evidence-based insights to governments as that is the only way to manage the situation in the short-term while finding meaningful, sustainable solutions in the longer term. Specifically, we are currently conducting a rapid review of evidence to inform the Kenya government’s ongoing efforts.
  • Our experts are providing commentary through the media to inform COVID-19 responses by governments and other actors:
  1. Local evidence needed in Africa’s COVID-19 responses by Leyla Abdullahi, April 16, 2020. Standard Newspaper Kenya. This article was also published in the Star Newspaper Kenya
  2. Dr. Eliya Zulu discusses challenges in the healthcare systems, policies and best practices to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, April 1, 2020. Radio interview on AfricaNow!
  3. Corona – Scientific evidence vs populist decisions by Leyla Hussein Abdullahi, March 25, 2020. Business Daily Newspaper Kenya. This article was also published in the Nation Malawi
  • Furthermore, we are in the process of planning a series of webinars to facilitate conversations on the available evidence to inform ongoing responses by African governments. The webinars will be announced in the coming days.