The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic is at a critical juncture. It points to an eminent need to consider improvements in health care provision, education, food security and livelihoods across sub-Saharan Africa. National and Regional partners should move swiftly to develop policy measures that incorporate actions against the pandemic.

Thinktank Public Policy in Africa Initiative (PPiAI) illustrates in a recent policy paper various trends that have emerged across the SSA region in the wake of the pandemic. The aggregate regional figures do not reveal the severity of the epidemic in localised areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

The vulnerability of SSA countries is attributed to several factors, including but not limited to fragility of health systems, low financing of testing and detection and low budget for response measures. The policy paper also highlights the role and importance of the media and communication pipelines to obtain information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among challenges directly linked to inadequate health systems, misinformation has led to disbelief and distrust in the existence of the disease. SSA member states should coordinate efforts with all stakeholders (politicians, academia, private and informal sectors) at both local and regional levels to map communication pipelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a panel discussion with the authors the fourth GAPPAP webinar will reflect on the policy implications of their report, and their recommendations focused on supply chains, trade and market access, food security and agricultural production, control measures to reduce the growing infection rates, media and information dispersion, the tourism industry, the education sector and measures that can support the health sector in SSA countries.

Join our panelists Dr Helen Onyeaka (lecturer in Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK), Dr Phemelo Tamasiga (Arvato Risk Management, Germany), Dr Ashenafi Teshome Guta (Economic Researcher, Bielefeld, Germany), Maureen Sindisiwe Kalane (Lecturer Corporate & Professional Communication at University of Botswana) and Dr Hugue Nkoutchou (head of PPIAI) on October 28, 4PM WAT/5PM CEST.