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Strengthening Health Systems through COVID-19 Response

By Laliteswar Kumar, Managing Director – Africa, and Richard Tandoh, Investment Associate  |   Posted 30th March 2021

As part of GIF’s effort to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GIF is providing BRAC, a leading international NGO with expertise in large scale programming in health, with $1.05 million in grant funding to focus on Sierra Leone’s and Uganda’s efforts to fight the virus.

Leveraging the experience earned during the 2014-2016 Ebola Crisis, BRAC Sierra Leone and BRAC Uganda are working closely with the respective country governments in their COVID-19 responses. Whereas the focus of BRAC Sierra Leone’s effort is emergency response work, in the form of behavioural change messaging reinforced by in-person support from community health workers, BRAC Uganda’s work focuses on health system strengthening.

COVID-19 is accelerating digital transformation among health practitioners and health planning within Uganda’s Ministry of Health. BRAC Uganda will work with the Ministry to augment testing and deployment of digital solutions and overcome evidence gaps in support of the government’s commitment to long term essential community healthcare provision.

Even though at the end of 2020 there were relatively few cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Africa (2.5 million and 57,000 respectively), the rate of spread and possibility of future waves has public health officials concerned. At the same time, there has been a growing awareness of the expected negative economic repercussions for many developing countries, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable sections of their societies. In addition to the to the urgent need to disseminate valuable information to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and Uganda, we anticipate that BRAC and others will be able to adapt their tools for data collection and integration into the existing health system network and therefore not only save lives during this pandemic but also on an on-going basis as well.