Data Reuse Amid COVID: Reflections from #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge and Ways in Which Data Can Support Pandemic Response Across Africa

Join our panel of #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge experts as we discuss ways in which data can support pandemic response across Africa.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll. A lack of timely, reliable data makes it especially difficult for decision-makers to track disease spread and measure knock-on effects of the pandemic. This, in turn, undermines their ability to develop the interventions needed to improve the livelihoods of people there.

Across Africa, many countries face an especially tough challenge due to rising cases, a surge in variants, and a lack of access to vaccines. With less than one percent of the continent’s total population vaccinated, there is growing fear that the countries across the continent face a “third wave” of the pandemic. Data innovation, leveraging both traditional and non-traditional sources responsibly, will be essential to prevent worse from happening.



In December 2020, l’Agence française de développement (AFD), Expertise France, and The GovLab launched the #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge. This challenge aimed to fund non-traditional, non-statistical work related to the COVID-19 pandemic across a continent where traditional datasets are often lacking. After calling for and assessing over 80 proposals, The GovLab and its partners funded seven teams across the continent. These teams received funding in May and soon after began work.

This English-language panel will allow #Data4COVID19 project teams with an opportunity to discuss these issues in a virtual setting. Facilitated by Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation and research Officer at The GovLab, participants will have an opportunity to discuss the data systems in their regions of focus, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ways that their work (and data reuse work more broadly) can address the worst aspects of the pandemic.


These proposed panels, organized by The GovLab at New York University and AFD, will focus on the role of data reuse in Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, it will explore:

What the state of national data systems across Africa were like prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and what role, if any, this played in the pandemic’s early days;

What role data can play in informing public health decision-making, including around non-pharmaceutical interventions, economic policy, and social issues;

How non-traditional data sources might be used to address gaps and improve COVID-19 response; and

What the #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge project teams are doing to realize this potential in the areas they work.

Session Structure and Participants:

The English-language panel will be moderated by Stefaan Verhulst, The GovLab’s co-founder and chief research and development officer. Stefaan will begin by presenting some of the challenges that emerged around the world as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and how data (including data reuse) helped address these challenges. These remarks will be informed by past work done by both organizations.

Panelists will provide insights based on their projects and work. Panelists include:

Francis Obare (Population Council, Kenya)

Chinwe Ochu (Nigeria Center for Disease and Control)

Third party TBD

The event is finished.


Jul 14 2021


8:00 am - 9:00 am

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