The ‘COVID-19 in Africa: multidisciplinary insights’ online Bordeaux Summer School
The University of Bordeaux organized its first online Bordeaux Summer School from the 22nd to the 26th of June 2020. Dedicated to the health, economic and political challenges raised by the COVID-19 epidemic in Africa and its immediate and potential consequences for the continent, this summer school was open to graduate and doctoral students as well as professionals.
In response to COVID-19, researchers around the world rallied to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On the Bordeaux campus, several research teams have been highly involved:
- Infectious diseases in lower-income countries – IDLIC team from the Bordeaux Population Health Center: building on expertise acquired during the most recent Ebola virus outbreaks, IDLIC has launched various projects on COVID-19 in the fields of epidemiology, immunology, clinical and implementation research, both in France and in Africa;
- Theoretical and Applied Economics Research Group - GREThA (University of Bordeaux, CNRS): following over a decade of research on food insecurity and economic activity in African countries, GREThA researchers in economics are currently assessing the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on agricultural production in rural areas, and informal entrepreneurship in urban settings in Africa;
- Les Afriques dans le Monde - LAM (Sciences Po Bordeaux, CNRS): LAM researchers have been questioning political governance, risk management and public policies at the time of the COVID-19 crisis.
Members of these three research groups decided to unite at this critical moment of the COVID-19 epidemic in Africa, in order to reflect collectively and with key local actors, on what has been and could be the magnitude of the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact.
In just a few weeks, they organized the ‘COVID-19 in Africa: multidisciplinary insights’ online Bordeaux Summer School. Designed for graduate and doctoral students as well as professionals, the program consisted of 5 half-day sessions of distance training on the key issues raised by and consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic in Africa, alternating thematic and methodological interventions and interactive group work sessions.
Our aim was for participants to exchange with scientists and key actors in the fight against COVID-19 in Africa, for them to understand what we know and don’t know about this epidemic, and to discover, hands-on, how important and powerful it is to join skills and experiences from different backgrounds and disciplines to address such a complex international crisis.
Joanna Orne-Gliemann — Member of the organizing committee and IDLIC researcher
Understanding global challenges through multidisciplinarity
Course content provided participants with scientific background on the SARS-Cov-2 infection and the COVID-19 disease in Africa, a review of existing clinical, economic and political data and data sources, a summary of the existing knowledge and gaps regarding the epidemiology, vulnerability, preparedness or economic impact of the epidemic in Africa, as well as multidisciplinary insight into how the response to the COVID-19 epidemic has been defined and implemented in different African countries.
The summer school gathered a total of 18 participants representing over 10 nationalities, 6 of which were sponsored by the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens. Organizing this summer school remotely allowed for high inclusiveness as many of the participants were based in Africa, and would otherwise not have been able to attend in person due to travel costs and other fees.
Sessions were presented by recognized experts in public health and epidemiology, economics, political sciences and anthropology from all over the world: Togo, Ethiopia, the United States, Burkina Faso, South Africa and France. Some of the themes discussed include:
- Epidemiological and clinical aspects of COVID-19;
- Clinical trials and critical reading of COVID-19 scientific literature;
- Risk analysis and public policy making;
- Planning and implementing national responses to the epidemic;
- Food security and integration in regional and international markets at the time of COVID-19;
- Factors explaining the dynamic of the epidemic in Africa.
Participants also had the opportunity to collaborate within interdisciplinary working groups on a policy brief addressing some of the challenges raised by the COVID-19 epidemic in specific African countries, using the methods and tools presented during the summer school. Topics covered include the effects of lifting or reinstating lockdowns on health, economics and well-being; access to COVID-19 prevention measures for vulnerable population groups in refugee camps; cross-country comparison of the consequences of different mobility restriction policies; and the design of a national program for food and income support during the COVID-19 crisis.
I loved the experience! Once possible, I’d gladly attend a program at the University of Bordeaux in person!
Oduor Kevin Otieno — Master student at Kenyatta University, Kenya, sponsored by the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens
- Dr. G. T. Abate: Department of economics, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
- Dr. T. Bernard / Dr. E. Rougier: Theoretical and Applied Economics Research Group (GREThA) - U5115, University of Bordeaux – French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
- Dr. A. Bouet: University of Bordeaux, France - International Food Policy Research Institute, USA
- Prof. D. Darbon / Dr. C. Thiriot: Les Afriques dans le Monde (LAM), Sciences Po Bordeaux - CNRS, France
- Dr. F. Eboko: Population and Development Center, Paris Descartes University - French National Research Institute for Development (IRD), France
- Prof. D. K. Ekouevi: Faculty of science and health, University of Lomé, Togo - Infectious diseases in lower-income countries research team (IDLIC), Bordeaux Population Health - U1219, University of Bordeaux - Inserm, France
- Dr. D. Laborde Debucquet: International Food Policy Research Institute, USA
- Dr. O. Marcy: IDLIC research team, Bordeaux Population Health - U1219, University of Bordeaux - French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), IRD, France
- Dr. D. Nguyen: Bordeaux University Hospital, University of Bordeaux, France
- Prof. A. Poda: University of Bobo Dioulasso - School of Medicine, University Hospital Souro Sanou, Burkina Faso
- Prof. F. Viljoen: Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Find out more!
To find out more about the Bordeaux Summer Schools, please consult the dedicated webpage.